The time for talking is over.
This is the message that came through loud and clear from a number of high profile speakers at a conference organised to debate the thorny issue of tackling the housing crisis.
Hosted by leading law firm, P.J. O’Driscoll & Sons, and moderated by journalist and broadcaster, Matt Cooper, the conference entitled Housing Affordability and Supply – Delivering Solutions took place this afternoon at Fota Island Resort, Cork, and was attended by over 200 guests.
High profile speakers at today’s conference included:
- Michael O’Flynn, CEO and Chairman of the O’Flynn Group
- Pat O’Sullivan, Head of Real Estate, AIB Dublin
- Elaine O’Driscoll, Managing Partner, P.J. O’Driscoll & Sons
- Declan Dunne, CEO of Respond, the housing agency
- Michael Lynch, Director of Services, Cork County Council
- Jim Keogan, Director with McCutcheon Halley Planning Consultancy (formerly Asst. CEO, Dublin City Council)
- Mairi Henderson, Associate Director, McCutcheon Halley Planning Consultancy
Speaking at the event, Michael O’Flynn, CEO and Chairman of O’Flynn Group, said: “Land is too expensive and getting land to the market at affordable prices is a problem. The big issue around housing is supply and we need to focus on how to resolve supply. The basic problem is that we do not have viable developments at affordable prices. Not connecting viability to affordability is a serious issue and whilst I welcome the Land Development Agency (LDA) objectives, I have some serious concerns around the implementation plans.
“Neither the vacant land tax nor the LDA will do anything to deliver a solution to the housing problem within the next five years. The proposed Government solutions are looking at solutions for the five to 10 year period, but are not tackling the solutions required over the next five years.”
Pat O’Sullivan, Head of Real Estate Research at AIB, Dublin, said: “Housing supply is accelerating, but it will still be a number of years before underlying demand is met. By 2020, supply is expected to be in the region of 27,000 units, but the underlying demand is for 35,000 units per annum.”
Elaine O’Driscoll, Managing Partner, P.J. O’Driscoll & Sons, said: “The housing crisis calls for the policymakers at local and national level to look to new laws to engineer powerful solutions. For example, it is anticipated that the legislation establishing the Land Development Agency will give it powers to issue compulsory purchase orders (CPO) for privately-owned land. These solutions may involve interfering with individual rights in the common good. If that is to happen, it must be done with fairness and transparency.”
Declan Dunne, CEO of the housing agency, Respond, said: “The new Affordable Housing Scheme needs to be financially sustainable and replicable around the country. There can be no subsidised housing without a subsidy. I welcome the Department’s proposed new Affordable Housing Scheme and we look forward to hearing the details of how the affordability element will be subsidised.”
P.J. O’Driscoll & Sons, with offices on the South Mall, Cork, is one of the leading law firms in the country in the area of construction and development. The firm has gained its expertise through its long established involvement with the construction industry at every level.