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New Irish planning minister commits to construction

Words: Roger Milne

Paudie Coffey, the Irish Republic’s new housing and planning minister, has confirmed that a key priority of his post will be implementing the construction strategy announced in May 2014.

The objective of that strategy is to help return the sector to a sustainable size and help get unemployed construction workers back to work. The central aim is to provide homes by tripling housing output by 2020 and adding up to 60,000 jobs to the construction sector over the same period.

"The construction sector is going to play an important role in our continued economic recovery," said Coffey. "There are still 70,000 former construction workers on the live register and a key part of reducing this number is the recently announced construction 2020 strategy which I have responsibility for.

“We must look to encourage an increase in the number of houses being built as there is a housing need, in particular in the Dublin Region”.

He pointed out that the Exchequer’s capital budget for housing this year has been set at €3.3 billion or 2.4 per cent of GNP.

“This is a considerable level of funding, despite the difficult economic circumstances that we are facing. This capital spend has been supplemented with the announcement of the €200 million stimulus package, which included an additional €50m which has been provided for the delivery of social housing.

“Some €20m of this will go towards new local authority construction projects; €20m will be used to fund the refurbishment of an additional 1,000 vacant units and €10m will be used for the acquisition of properties in Dublin area to meet urgent homeless need,” he stressed.