Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing Mary Butler has said she is extremely disappointed with the absence of a commitment by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to deliver social and affordable housing.
The ISIF is a €7bn fund under the management of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). It currently holds over €3bn in cash since the decision made in 2013 to sell off the assets held by the National Pension Reserve Fund.
The fund announced today that it would be spending approximately €750m of its current €3bn cash balance before the end of 2016 across a range of projects.
Deputy Butler commented, “The ISIF was established by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on a statutory basis in 2013. At that time the Minister missed a unique opportunity to direct the fund to invest in much needed social housing. Fianna Fáil advised the Minister to include social housing in the remit of the fund, but he chose not to do so.
“Minister Noonan recently told the Dáil that “no investable projects or initiatives have emerged” in relation to social housing for the fund. Given the acute shortage of social housing in Ireland today, there is a clear need to revisit the legislation under which the ISIF operates. It must be given an explicit mandate to deliver social housing infrastructure in Ireland.
“To date the attempts by the fund to get involved in private housing supply have been very limited. The fact that ISIF has substantial cash reserves, combined with the ongoing crisis in housing and homelessness, should point to an obvious role for it in this regard. A significant opportunity has been missed today in my view and it should be re-examined.
“I believe the new Dáil committee on Housing and Homelessness should call the Chairman of ISIF before it as soon as possible to identify the role it can plan in tackling this issue,” concluded Deputy Butler.