On Friday I was delighted to launch ‘Maigh Rua’, a new development of 23 apartments led by Co-operative Housing Ireland.
The €3.8 million scheme has been led by CHI with funding provided by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and the Housing Finance Agency.
Co-operative Housing Ireland provides housing through ownership, shared ownership and social rented co-operatives and Maigh Rua is the organisation’s first development in Galway.
Housing delivery is identified as the first priority in the Programme for Partnership Government. Our commitment to housing delivery is set out in the action plan on housing, Rebuilding Ireland, and is underlined by the creation of a dedicated Department for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
Rebuilding Ireland sets out to address the current housing crisis under five pillars – addressing homelessness, accelerating social housing, building more homes, improving the rental sector, and utilising existing housing.
All of these pillars are interlinked, of course, and new housing developments such as the new co-operative at Maigh Rua play an important role in addressing homelessness and building a stronger housing system for the long term.
Making sure that we are delivering in the commitments in Rebuilding Ireland is a key priority for us and we provide quarterly progress reports on the 84 actions identified in the plan as well as monthly updates on housing delivery. Some of the recent actions that we have undertaken include:
- Focusing on our commitment to end the practice of housing homeless families in hotels by July. This has involved a wide range of actions including improving the Housing Assistance Payment for homeless households, acquiring vacant housing, developing hub accommodation, progressing rapid build housing, and working with local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to maximize supply,
- Providing a €226 million Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund to free up development land, including roads investments in Clare, Limerick, and Westmeath,
- Publishing a map of local authority and public sector land to promote new housing supply.
These are alongside our overarching commitment to provide 47,000 units of social housing with funding of €5.35 billion over the years to 2020.
That new housing will be delivered through a mix of building, acquisition, and leasing by local authorities and approved housing bodies, alongside greater use of the Housing Assistance Payment. The objectives of Rebuilding Ireland are beginning to be realised with social housing provided to 19,000 households in 2016 – ahead of the target of 17,000. More than 5,000 of these units were new social housing provided through building, leasing and refurbishment.
Rebuilding Ireland recognises the key contribution that Approved Housing Bodies such as Co-operative Housing Ireland have to make in providing new housing and in ensuring high quality housing management for the longer term. Co-operative Housing Ireland, for example, delivered 200 new homes last year and now manages more than 2,100 units across the entire country.
I was delighted to hear these new homes in Maigh Rua are just the start of ambitious plans for the City here in Galway and the wider west of Ireland. Delivering a further 90 homes here in the city and 300 houses in total across the region over the coming 18 months is a significant commitment. And I was pleased to hear that the local office for the region will open shortly close-by in Doughiska. As well as providing for high quality housing management services for tenants, this is a welcome support for jobs in this area.
Of course, local government continues to have the lead role in housing provision. I congratulate Galway City Council for the spirit of partnership with which it has entered into this project and I hope that this is the first of many such projects delivered by the Council, private sector, and co-operative housing.
Tá na comharchumainn dea-bhunaithe sa chuid seo den domhan. Tá aithne againn ar ghluaiseacht na gcomhar creidmheasa, ar ndóigh, agus ar na comharchumainn atá ag obair i gcúrsaí talmhaíochta. Agus tá a lán gnóthaí bheaga agus fiontair shóisialta ag obair tríd an córas chomhoibritheach le tacaíocht ó Údarás na Gaeltachta go háirithe. Cuireann an tslí seo gnó a dhéanamh an chéad áit do dhaoine agus tá ról tábhachtach aici pobail níos láidre a thógáil don todhchaí.