Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that Minister Eoghan Murphy must take urgent action following the findings of three residential construction cost reports which were published by the Department of Housing.

The reports, which compare the cost of construction and viability in Ireland with that in other European countries, were launched earlier today.

He said, “According to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office, house prices in Ireland rose 13% in 2017. This is further proof that the prospect of owning a home in this country is becoming increasingly out of reach and next to impossible for young couples and families starting out.

“Fianna Fáil has repeatedly called for an evidence based approach to addressing cost concerns and these reports point to some clear actions that need to be taken by the Minister.

“These three reports cannot be allowed to gather dust on the shelves alongside the other countless reports published by the Department including the Review of Taxation on the Rental Market.

“Why are people being forced to queue in the wind and rain for the slim possibility of buying a home even after saving hard for a mortgage? We witnessed this astonishing precedent earlier this week in Ongar, Dublin 15.

“The First Time Buyer Grant is driving house prices higher and higher because we’re not building and if the Minister isn’t prepared to amplify building then this will only continue to spiral. Fianna Fáil has been consistent in stating this fact.

“While today’s findings reveal that we are not necessarily out of line with construction costs in other European countries, the need to build more housing is placing substantial pressure on the State Apprenticeship Scheme.

“The Government must ensure we have the skills base to meet demand an ensure costs don’t spiral out of control.

“Other critical amendments are needed to strengthen the viability of building affordable homes such as addressing car parking regulations, and the degree of access to finance

“An ambitious new affordable housing scheme on State lands must form an essential part of the Government’s strategy in the coming months.

O’Brien concluded, “Otherwise these reports won’t be worth the paper they are written on.”