Seanad debates

Tuesday, 5 March 2024

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


1:00 pm

Photo of Victor BoyhanVictor Boyhan (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the plans unveiled by the Minister, Deputy Simon Harris, with regard to encouraging Irish construction workers back to Ireland from abroad. The Minister, as part of his St. Patrick's Day visit to the UK next week, will meet Irish workers in the construction industry to discuss their concerns and the reasons they went in the first place to find alternative work. While we know many of the reasons are economic, we need to know the reasons they went away to get work in the construction industry and, more importantly, the reasons they may not return or what are the impediments to them returning to use their construction skills and experience in the construction of homes in this country.

Last week, I raised the issue of the many thousands of houses that are sitting on the drawing boards, tables and desks of An Bord Pleanála as part of the SHD process and, again, we still have not seen those numbers change.Between the thousands of homes before the appeals board, the thousands in the pipeline and the many that are stuck at various stages of construction, there is great demand for Irish people who have skills in the construction sector to come back and bring them here.

I welcome the initiative of the Minister, Deputy Harris. I understand he was to brief the Cabinet earlier. I do not know how that went or whether he managed to get it done, given the busy schedule the Cabinet has, but he has clearly indicated his commitment to developing apprenticeships, which we must commend. It is important we look at on-site job training, craft apprenticeships and upskilling capacity, especially in the areas of alternative clean energies for construction, but it is even more important to build homes. I commend the Minister on his efforts. Will the Leader invite him to come before the House to elaborate on his plans and have a debate on the need to encourage Irish construction workers all over the world to consider the option of coming back to Ireland to support addressing the housing crisis in the construction sector?


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