Thursday, 12 October 2017
Financial Resolutions 2018 - Financial Resolution No. 4: General (Resumed)
On the issue of overcrowded classrooms, it is ironic that the post-Celtic tiger Fianna Fáil did not manage to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio to 26:1. It is the standout issue and an unusual one upon which to start the attack.
The affordable housing component of the budget had a whole section dedicated to the introduction of a new agency, Home Building Finance Ireland, HBFI, which will use the expertise of NAMA to ensure lending to smaller developers and those who are not already involved with NAMA. This will be established next year. We are all familiar with the builders in our communities who develop the ten or 12 house estate in villages around the country. They cannot get access to finance now and it is a significant problem so the announcement in the budget of this new financing agency is particularly welcome.
With regard to the vacant site levy, some local authorities have compiled very good lists of vacant sites while others have not. This falls directly under my remit and I will deal with this over the next months to ensure that appropriate lists exist across local authorities. There are local authorities that have been very proactive on the housing front. Louth local authority stands out as having used the compulsory purchase mechanism to ensure that dereliction in its main towns is at least starting to come under control. It is also providing social housing for people who are on the social housing waiting lists in County Louth.
Deputy Mary Butler spoke about post offices and shed a lot of crocodile tears for them. The Deputy spoke of a report that mentions the closure of 160 to 360 post offices. She did not mention that the last time Fianna Fáil was in government more than 230 post offices were closed across the State and no tears were shed for them.