Housing Delivery Office must be reviewed – O’Brien

Published on: 21 July 2018

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing Darragh O’Brien TD has called for a review of the Housing Delivery Office.

The office was established under Re-Building Ireland in August 2016 to support the accelerated delivery of housing across the social and private sectors.

Working with the broader Housing and Planning Divisions in the Department of Housing, other key agencies, local authorities and the construction sector, the aim of the office was to support the roll-out of complex projects, including identifying and resolving barriers to delivery.

However, PQ replies have revealed staff shortages and high turnover within the unit undermining its capacity to carry out its role.

Deputy O’Brien said, “There are currently only three people working in the Housing Delivery Office. This is extraordinary considering the huge remit the office currently has. What’s even more worrying is the fact that the office has actually lost staff since it was first established two years ago, down from four posts. Many of the original members of staff have left the office since its establishment.

“The loss of staff and turnover is obviously having an impact on its ability to carry out its work. This means that a critical part of the Re-Building Ireland plan is simply not working. Instead of expanding and building up its experience and expertise it is instead losing staff. This means its ability to learn lessons from previous plans and address blockages is being lost. Given that six local authorities failed to build a single social home last year its clear the office has major issues to address.

“The office should be reviewed as a matter of urgency and the reasons for such loss of staff need to be addressed. We need oversight of delivery and co-ordination between the various stakeholders to ensure housing targets are met.

“Given the abysmal levels of social housing construction this must be a priority. Two years on from Re-Building Ireland we have seen massaged housing figures and a continued social housing crisis. We cannot afford to allow blockages and institutional problems to delay construction in the middle of a housing crisis,” Deputy O’Brien concluded.

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