Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Ceisteanna - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
We would be very happy to do it and, wherever we can, we have worked to that end, but we cannot and should not control or be involved in certain parts. Considerable work has been ongoing between the Irish Council for Social Housing, a number of larger tier 3 approved housing bodies, AHBs, and their financial advisers on the development of a vehicle for delivering private financing for AHBs providing social housing in line with ambitions set out in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland action plan on housing and homelessness. The ICSH work is being undertaken in three phases, the first two of which have been completed, which are the phases designed to test the market interest in investing in social housing and the appetite among AHBs for private finance. While the ICSH had hoped to have completed the final phase of the work by now, and we certainly hoped it would be completed too, it is focused on the structuring of special purpose vehicles and this important work is ongoing.
I understand that one of the issues which has given rise to the delay in concluding the work is the need to take account of other private finance arrangements and vehicles that certain AHBs have put in place in parallel. Three different bodies have put arrangements in place and I believe they are working quite well. The decision by EUROSTAT to reclassify AHBs has also influenced the progression of this final phase of work. Alongside this project, three individual approved housing bodies have been successful in accessing private finance from financial institutions to deliver new social housing, with each financial institution having its own specific requirements for lending and investing. While the completion of the outstanding phase of work is primarily a matter for the Irish Council for Social Housing, I hope that it will be in a position to finish it as soon as possible. We are committed to it. The Central Bank changed the rules to allow investment. Deputy Darragh O'Brien keeps referring to a figure of €10 billion. Under the rules, up to €800 million or €900 million-----