Fianna Fail Business, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson, Niall Collins has questioned the ability of the Government to deliver on its housing commitments in the National Development Plan given the low levels of people pursuing traditional apprenticeships in Bricklaying and Plastering.
Deputy Collins made the call after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister with responsibility, John Halligan TD and following the Government’s rehashed #Ireland2040 launch.
“The Government is promising to construct 25,000 new homes every year between now and 2027. In and of itself, that’s a tall order given is woeful track record to date in terms of housing construction.
“Add in the fact that the country is suffering from dangerously low levels of people engaging in apprenticeship courses, and then I don’t see how these targets can be met.
“I’ve learned that that in 2017, only 60 apprentices registered for Brick and Stonelaying and 34 for Plastering. Even in other areas, numbers are not high enough to deliver on the Ireland 2040 targets.
“These are all skills areas that are critically important in delivering new quality housing in our country. No matter what level of innovation comes down the tracks, we will still need qualified brick layers and plasterers to ensure houses are made available for our people.
“Minister Halligan has a lot to prove to me, and to the construction industry, that he has the wherewithal to preside over an apprenticeship system that can deliver for the economy and fundamentally for our citizens.
“His government’s failure in terms of modern apprenticeships is made all the worse by his failure in the more traditional trades needed in the construction industry.
“The Government can make all the promises it likes but if the tradespeople aren’t there with the right skills to build and finish our houses, the pie in the sky ambition of the National Development Plan and Planning Framework will be nothing more than wasted ink,” concluded Collins.