Friday, 4 June 2021
Right to Housing: Motion
Paddy Burke (Fine Gael)
I will share time with Senator Ahearn. I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Peter Burke, back to the House and compliment Senator Fitzpatrick on introducing this important motion. I fully support the right of everyone to have a house. There are different forms in which people can have a house, whether that be full ownership, long-term rental with security or public housing.
The Rebuilding Ireland plan mainly provides for building around cities. Some of the land zoned industrial in smaller towns could be rezoned for housing. We may never get an industry into these smaller towns now. When land is rezoned, other land must be dezoned. The Minister should examine this issue. I know of several towns where industrial land could be very useful for housing, and it has all the services ready to go.
It takes up to 16 weeks for Irish Water to process applications for water and sewerage services. When one considers that the planning application can take between 12 and 16 weeks, this adds up to a long period of time for housing applications. These delays as well as increasing costs are putting considerable pressure on builders who are trying to price jobs.I do not see any reason Irish Water is not able to reduce the time it takes to process those planning applications. The local authorities could reduce their time also. We are in a housing crisis and every effort should be made to make it easier for people to get planning permission and to get the water and sewerage connections. Everyone should put their shoulder to the wheel in relation to providing houses because, as every Senator has said here, we are in a housing crisis and whatever needs to be done should be done to make it possible to get our people housed in the months and years ahead.