Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien TD: ‘What we are doing is radical’
4th July 2024

Housing Ireland Magazine 2024 / 2025 Foreword

Creating communities that will thrive now and into the future

As we approach the third anniversary of the publication of Housing for All, it is worth reflecting on the need to continue prioritising the housing challenges faced by our country and on the real progress that has already been made.

The Housing Agency, together with our partners in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, local authorities, approved housing bodies, private sector, and other state agencies, have been involved in implementing programmes to increase social housing delivery, embed affordability within the overall housing market, increase the supply of apartments for sale, address social inclusion, and remediate homes affected by building defects.

Three years ago we did not have cost rental tenure in Ireland, now it is appearing in cities and towns across the country. Cost rental tenants pay rent based on the cost of constructing, financing, managing and maintaining their home, rather than the open market rent. It gives renters greater security, allows them to put down roots, and ultimately helps to create sustainable communities.

The delivery of affordable homes is ramping up. The Housing Agency assesses applications for the Affordable Housing Fund. Over 4,000 affordable purchase and cost rental homes have been approved for funding. The Affordable Purchase Scheme is providing high-quality, energy-efficient homes for first-time buyers who might otherwise be locked out of the housing market.

Meanwhile the Croí Cónaithe (Cities) Scheme, which is managed by The Housing Agency, is helping to make apartments available to home purchasers. The scheme bridges the viability gap between the cost of building apartments and their market sale price. The scheme is now gathering momentum and last year contracts were signed for the delivery of 425 apartments for owner-occupiers.

While there is progress in delivery, it is still important to take stock and analyse where improvements can be made. With this in mind and following on from the publication of the Report of The Housing Commission in May 2024, The Housing Agency has been tasked with conducting a cost and impact analysis of its recommendations. This important work is already underway.

At The Housing Agency, we see ourselves as an enabler when it comes to increasing housing supply, whether that is through the work of our technical, architectural, and design teams, carrying out funding assessments, or acquiring land for social and affordable housing through the Land Acquisition Fund.

While the focus is quite rightly on increasing supply – and must remain so – it is vital that we build with sustainability in mind.

Social housing, cost rental, affordable purchase homes and Croí Conaithe (Cities) – all are crucial elements for building sustainable communities, where people across all income levels and tenure live and work alongside each other. Sustainability, affordability and inclusivity is the prism through which planners and policymakers must approach housing. The Housing Agency wants to see a new national sustainable communities policy to ensure we are creating communities that will thrive now and into the future.

Bob Jordan
Chief Executive
The Housing Agency