Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Housing Provision for Older People: Discussion

Photo of Mary Seery KearneyMary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)
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I will probably repeat much of what the Vice Chairman said, so I apologise in advance. I will watch the video recording of the meeting later because I am sure much of what I had intended to say has been covered.

A proposed development in my home constituency, Dublin South-Central, arose recently and is currently at the pre-planning phase. It is in the order of about 300 apartments in an area full of three- and four-bedroom houses and of people from a generation who would happily downsize or right-size if they had somewhere to go. When I met residents' associations to discuss this proposal for a major development in the area, they were in support of housing but the problem was the development related only to build-to-rent. The build-to-rent aspect is off-putting for people who have had a lifetime of owning their own homes, whereby there is a precariousness about it. It seems to be a cultural barrier such that if someone has worked hard and has a home, selling it and moving into a build-to-rent, perhaps without qualifying for the criteria that may be inherent in that, is a problem. The local community's attitude is such that were the development to go ahead, at least a certain proportion of the homes needed to be able to be bought in order that they would be incentivised to move. As the Vice Chairman said, sufficient housing stock is not available. People want to stay in the communities in which they have been all their lives, where there may be familiar faces in the church or the post office. They want to stay in those areas but they are not necessarily able to do so because the housing stock is not sufficient.

This brings me to the recent newspaper article in which the Dublin city manager was quoted as having criticised the proliferation of build-to-rent in Dublin city and the destabilising nature that may have on the community and on the sense of the surroundings of the community and familiar faces for a long time. That is my observation and I would welcome our guests' comments on how we can overcome that and ensure people will have housing stock in a given area. Would it involve forced planning decisions whereby there would have to be criteria, such as specific numbers and a ratio? Is there a sufficient level of home care and other supports to keep people in their homes, since that is their overwhelming desire to stay in their homes and their communities?

Again, I apologise if these questions have been answered.