David Murphy/Darby Savage
Welcome to the first weekly housing crisis news round-up. To subscribe to the podcast, click here.
Backyard "log cabins" mooted in capital
DUBLIN City Council is close to passing a motion that will allow log cabins to be built on family properties.
The councillor who proposed the motion said it will help families who are stuck in the rental market and those priced out of the housing market.
Reaction online has largely been negative, with many suggesting the idea will be open to abuse. The Irish Planning Institute has warned it could set a dangerous precedent, and homeless charity the Simon Community said the idea was unworkable and wouldn’t solve the housing crisis.
Down and out families in Cork are up
THE number of homeless families in Cork city has jumped by more than 40% in the last three months.
The latest housing figures from Cork City Council showed 78 families in emergency accommodation in October, up from 54 in August.
The housing crisis was the main topic of debate at last night’s City Council meeting, with councillor Thomas Gould describing it as “the worst housing report in Cork city’s history”.
People in emergency accommodation rose to 453 in the period between June and October, an increase of 100, with 80 stuck in the system for at least six months.
In reporting by the Evening Echo, Councillor Tim Brosnan said “this state has singularly failed and young people in Ireland should be very angry.”
Don’t worry Tim; we are!
Pat v Bartra
NEWSTALK'S Pat Kenny and his wife Kathy have won their battle against Bartra Capital over plans to build three apartment blocks and seven houses on a site adjacent to their Dalkey home. Though the battle is won in the war is not yet over, with Richard Barrett’s Bartra Capital likely to appeal the decision (anxious to recoup its €3.1m investment).
Barbra has been on a spending spree across Dublin, buying up - among others - 3 Poplar Row in Ballybough, for a 52-apartment build-to-rent venture. Bartra is one of many Building groups and landowners jumping on the build-to-rent bandwagon in the capital, a highly profitable activity in the crisis-stricken Irish housing market.
Urban spots to boost Government
THE Government has announced €100 million in funding intended to revive brownfield sites in Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, with almost 200 applications submitted to the department upon launching its Urban Regeneration and Development Fund last July.
The €2bn fund has been touted as a central part of the controversial Project Ireland 2040 plan, which opposition parties have regarded with suspicion since it was announced in the spring, owing to claims it is being used as a promotional tool for the general election by the Fine Gael-led coalition.
Construction continues In druggy park
CONSTRUCTION work on a 63-unit social housing development in Clondalkin is set to resume with gardaí presence boosted in the area.
The site had been described as being like a scene from US TV show "The Wire” with “open drug dealing, intimidation, stolen cars, scramblers and wanton vandalism a daily occurrence”.
In a statement to the Sun newspaper earlier this month “Senior Garda Management [said they were] satisfied that an adequate policing service continues to be delivered” in the area.
ON Monday the Examiner reported that the Irish Development Agency had briefed its execs to say the country’s housing crisis was “not unique”. This was in response to concerns raised by multinationals about “constraints” and the “clear market failures” in housing.
When issues like rising property prices, spiralling rents, and homelessness come up for discussion, IDA execs have been told to say rental prices in Dublin are “very competitive compared to Paris, Zurich, and Geneva", with “hugely positive trends” in residential property.
With Dublin rental prices €500 a month higher than a decade ago and The Economist reporting that property in the city is overvalued by 25%, you might not take your next chat with an IDA exec too seriously.
Filling the void
A Sinn Fein TD has questioned this week why so many council homes in Limerick are boarded up.
Raising the matter in the Dail, local TD Maurice Quinlivan said that councils blamed a lack of funding from the Department of Housing to refurbish the homes. According to estimates €150 million euro of central government funding has been cut from Limerick in the past decade with social housing refits down by 86%, since 2014.
The council’s budget passed recently by only one vote after a campaign by Solidarity to refuse to pass the budget, if measures to address the housing crisis were not on the table.
Though the government don’t keep a record of so-called “void” and empty council houses, we know that Dublin County Council had over 500 housing units unoccupied as of April this year, and Galway City Council confirmed in September that 60 of its homes are also lying empty.
More foreign workers needed, says CIF
THE Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has warned that more than one hundred thousand new builders will need to start work by 2020 if it is to meet new housing demand, with most to come from inward migration.
The estimates came from a target of 35,000 new builds a year.
However, the number of new homes constructed in Ireland this year is expected to total around 19,000, far short of demand.
Supply issues play a leading role in spiking rents and house prices, with price inflation growing at an annual rate of over 8%.
More spin than work, alleges Labour
LABOUR'S Kevin Humphreys has accused Eoghan Murphy of being more into spin than actual work.
The party says that short-term lettings, such as Airbnb, are contributing to the housing crisis and legislation needs to be introduced.
Labour mostly recently formed a coalition government with Fine Gael between 2011 and 2016, during which time homelessness increased by 81%, according to census figures.
English rejects sprawl in Tuam, angers local pollies
A recent decision by councillors in Tuam to zone four parcels of land for new housing has been overturned by housing minister Damien English.
Tuam area councillors are "livid", according to reporting in the Connacht Tribune, and are expected to call an emergency meeting next week.
Mr English said that the zonings are located in ‘a scattered and disorderly manner’ and would not be in the interests of the long-term development and that “new development should contribute to compact towns and villages”.
This adds to a perception that policies to prevent urban sprawl are being enforced unevenly, with CSO figures showing last year a focus on building in the outskirts of Dublin. And the sprawl isn't confined to the capital, with less than a third of homes sold in Cork last year located within the city.
Demo in Dublin, bus from Galway
AND finally, if you’re stuck for something to do this weekend, there’s a a national demonstration taking place in Dublin on Saturday to protest the ongoing housing crisis. The demonstration starts at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance using the hashtag #HomesForAll.
The demo follows the successful #RaiseTheRoof rally in October which saw roughly 12,000 in attendance.
The National Homeless and Housing Coalition are promoting a bus from as far as Galway with a return ticket to Dublin costing only €10.
Tune in again next week for the latest on the housing crisis with #murphythejournalist