National Construction Summit 2018 – Ireland is Building Again, Says Housing Minister
By 2040 the population of the Republic of Ireland will have reached 6 million, according to Eoghan Murphy TD, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. He added: “Where are these people going to live and how will they live?”
The Minister was the opening speaker at the 2018 National Construction Summit, which was held recently at the Citywest Convention Centre, Dublin. The event, which featured 150 exhibition stands and a comprehensive conference programme, attracted over 1,800 visitors from across Ireland.
He pointed out that the National Construction Summit was timely as: “Ireland is building again after capital spending was cut during the financial crisis. We are now in a position to prudently increase capital investment.”
He outlined a number of challenges facing the Government and the country such as Brexit, which will require investment to mitigate its impact; changing demographics, which has implications for housing and regional development; the environmental consequences of climate change; and the technological revolution currently taking place, which is akin to the ‘industrial revolution’ of the past. “If we are smart, we will see these challenges as opportunities,” he remarked.
The Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, on behalf of the Government, recently prepared and published Project Ireland 2040, a €116 billion policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland during the next 22 years. The plan envisages the building of 500,000 new homes.
“The challenge of housing and house building is most pressing when we look at homelessness,” he said. “These are very different to the recent challenges in construction during the financial crisis.”
The problem of affordability is being tackled by addressing the huge shortage on the supply side both in private housing, with the Central Bank estimating 23,000 new homes this year, and by the acceleration in the rate of social housing construction. “Progress is being made each week and each month,” said the Minister.
On the planning side, a new fast-track system is due to be introduced by the Minister in July, when he also proposes to remove height restrictions in our major cities. “So cities like Dublin can grow upwards instead of outwards,” he explained. Indeed, compact growth is a key principle of Project Ireland.
“We as a Government have to protect the economic recovery and repair some of the wounds inflicted during the financial crisis,” Eoghan Murphy remarked. The successful implementation of Project Ireland 2014 will crucial in this regard.