Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Malcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
The Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, has had extensive discussions with the CCMA, the Oireachtas joint committee and the Housing Agency. We know of the Minister's reputation. He has been very inclusive and participative in dealing with all aspects of this matter. He continues to keep a very open mind in his consultations and engagements with all actors and agencies. That is to his credit. With regard to what Senator Gavan said, the Minister is certainly not afraid of consultation. He believes that it is a valuable part of the process and of the work of formulating good legislation to deliver affordable housing and that it is also valuable in all other aspects of his portfolio. I disagree with the Senator's contention.
I do not propose to accept this amendment. However, I can confirm that my Department will liaise with housing authorities on the draft regulations, as is the normal practice. As I have stated, extensive dialogue has been undertaken with local authorities in this regard. This has resulted in a change to the existing affordable dwelling purchase arrangement provisions under the 2009 Act which see a national scheme of priority apply to 100% of the affordable dwellings provided by local authorities. It is now intended that a nationally consistent scheme will apply to 70% of homes made available. Each local authority will be given discretion, having regard to its own particular housing needs and characteristics, to provide for a specific scheme of priority for 30% of the dwellings being made available.