Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Housing Provision

11:40 am

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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10. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will report on the affordable housing scheme in Kilcarbery, Clondalkin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47222/22]

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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Will the Minister report on the affordable housing scheme in Kilcarbery in my area? Have the problems with the banks been resolved? How much are these affordable homes, and what is the equity stake buyers will have to pay back to the State?

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I thank Deputy Ward for his question. The Deputy will be aware I brought in a new affordable housing fund last year to directly assist local authorities to bring forward affordable homes such as in Kilcarbery. Approximately €125 million in funding has already been approved to support the development of nearly 1,800 homes for affordable purchase.

Another five schemes that will deliver a further 270 homes are under assessment. I hope to dispose of them in the next couple of weeks. I have also approved funding of over €90 million for more than 900 cost homes to be delivered by approved housing bodies under the cost-rental equity loan, CREL, scheme. Further applications have come in since we made the changes to CREL last week.

On the affordable housing supports my Department has made available, I am happy to advise that South Dublin County Council has confirmed it is delivering 16 homes in Kilcarbery under an affordable purchase scheme. Kilcarbery Grange is a mixed-tenure development that will deliver 74 cost-rental homes, 16 affordable purchase homes and 310 much-needed social homes. The 16 affordable purchase homes were supported by over €1.1 million in funding from the affordable housing fund and, following an application process, have already been assigned to successful applicants. It is good to see that there are people who will be buying homes at an affordable rate under this fund. The affordable purchase price of these homes will be linked to the applicants income and mortgage capacity. For these three-bedroom homes, the minimum purchase price will be €245,600 and the maximum will be €285,300. This represents a discount of at least 22% on comparable market values in the area. Separately, the 74 cost-rental homes in Kilcarbery Grange that will be delivered by Tuath using €6.3 million provided using the affordable housing fund and CREL funding have now been tenanted. I have visited the estate. Cost rents are set at €1,025 for one-bedroom apartments and €1,229 for two-bedroom apartments. These rents are at a discount of 32% on the market value, with long-term, safe and secure tenure backed by the State.

11:50 am

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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For clarity, was the delay in people getting approval from the banks down to the lack of communication on the part of the Department? There were more than 300 eligible applications for these 16 homes. There is clearly a need for affordable housing. People in my area have been blocked out of the housing market for years as a result of high prices and unaffordable rents. They are just trying to get a place they can afford. They want to live in their area and bring up their children there. I do not think that is too much to ask.

The Minister said it costs up to €285,000 to buy an affordable house in Kilcarbery. How much of the equity stake is being paid back to the State? He said it is €1,229 a month for the affordable housing scheme. That is a 32% reduction on general prices in the area. How much would the affordable rental scheme and the affordable housing scheme have cost had this public land not been sold to a private developer in the first place?

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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It would have been delivered a lot sooner if the Deputy's party had not blocked, procrastinated in respect of and opposed this scheme at council level. The homes are being built there now-----

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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Fianna Fáil voted with us on a month’s delay.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Eoin cannot help himself this morning. Try to behave yourself, Eoin.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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Your party voted with us on a Labour amendment.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Try to behave yourself, Eoin.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Let the question be answered.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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It was to get public funding -----.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please let the question be answered.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I am endeavouring to answer the Deputy's constituency colleague who has shown an interest in Kilcarbery Grange.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I am correcting the record from the Minister's misrepresentation.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Does the Deputy want me to answer the question? There were a small number of outstanding elements. It was not down to any delays in the Department regarding one of the financial institutions. These matters have now been closed. Agreement was reached on 23 September. I am further advised that all three mortgage providers have approved mortgage applications for the purchasers involved. The issue that was there with one mortgage provider in particular has been resolved and the purchasers will be able to close the sales of these affordable homes - at a cost of €245,000 - very shortly. We have subvented to the tune of about €75,000. That has come out of the affordable housing fund. That is the State's stake in that home which------

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I thank the Minister.

Photo of Mark WardMark Ward (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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I was on the council when these decisions were made. We did not procrastinate. We sent the matter back to the Minister's predecessor, Eoghan Murphy, to get 100% public homes on public land, with affordable purchase, rental and social units. There is no way that the cost would have been €285,000 had it been done at the time. We were given assurances, as far as the council could do so, that the private homes would cost €260,000, which is less than the affordable housing. That is what we were told. I checked this morning and, according to The Irish Times, the prices are €370,000 for a three-bed house and €420,000 for a four-bed one. That is a further block to ordinary working families in my area. Does the Minister accept that because of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's policy of relying on the market, these houses are nearly double what the affordable housing scheme is?

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Is that a question?

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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It is a very important question.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Eoin, please. What is great to see that we have 74 cost-rental units tenanted in there, with long-term secure rents for tenants. I have met many of them.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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We could have had 300.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Ah come on; would you stop.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please. We might get to the Deputy's next question. He actually has a question that we might get to if he would let the Minister speak. Go on, Minister.

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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To answer Deputy Ward, the issue has been resolved. On the minimum price of the houses, I know he likes to pick the figure of €285,300, but I did state that it is €245,600. It depends on the ability to pay. They are real affordable homes that people will purchase. These are part of the 1,800 affordable purchase homes that I have approved already through local authorities right across the country. That does not even include the first home scheme. We have had well over 1,000 applications in respect of that scheme, and eligibility certificates have already been issued for well over 400. These are real homes that people will be able to buy and which they could not afford previously. We are committed to affordable home ownership. We are committed to home ownership and it is actually happening

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you. Question No. 17 is with Deputy Ó Broin.

Photo of Eoin Ó BroinEoin Ó Broin (Dublin Mid West, Sinn Fein)
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Have the next seven questions been grouped?

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. Question No. 17 is the next question for people who are present.

Questions Nos. 11 to 13, inclusive, taken with Written Answers.

Question No. 14 taken with Question No. 7.

Questions Nos. 15 and 16 taken with Written Answers.