Seanad debates

Thursday, 22 October 2015

10:30 am

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent) | Oireachtas source

Will the Acting Leader amend the Order of Business as I would like to take No. 16 on the Order Paper? Apropos of the last speaker, No. 16 is the National Mortgage and Housing Corporation Bill 2015. The Bill is entitled an Act to create the national mortgage and housing corporation for the purposes of ensuring fair access to home ownership, address accommodation shortage and ensure the smooth operation of the property sector in Ireland. I propose that we take Second Stage on 4 November.

As Senator Hayden has pointed out many times to us, there is a need for new policies and responses on accommodation. Professor Ronan Lyons in TCD has estimated that 90% of the population will require a housing subsidy in order to live in a new two-bedroom apartment in Dublin. I sat with Senators O'Keeffe, MacSharry and Michael D'Arcy on the banking inquiry. I do not see any ideas coming from that source, from either the financial community or the construction community. That is why the Independent group has brought forward this Bill which I hope it will provoke interest and discussion on all sides of the House. We have tried to develop models from Canada and from economists in Princeton and Chicago, given that the banking inquiry was unable to illicit from either industry I have mentioned much of a response, except an admission that houses used to cost two and half times the average income in Ireland but that it rose to 12 times the amount. That rate is now down to six times but it is still in excess of what it is in most OECD countries.

We discussed an allied construction item during a Commencement debate this week. I refer to the sale of the Baggot Street Hospital and its projected sales revenue of €14 million. The estimate for Tralee and Ballincollig, both of which the Acting Leader would be acquainted with, is that it would cost €40 million to replace almost 200 beds, which is a figure based on costings for those greenfield sites. A reserve price of €40 million should be put on Baggot Street Hospital because that is what it will cost us to put 200 new beds into the system. At the moment people are on trolleys and are being sent out of the jurisdiction for treatment. Therefore, selling off hospitals to developers at bargain prices is not the way to proceed.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.