Threshold, the national housing organisation, today responded to the Government’s announcement of record house completions in 2004 [76,954 units] by saying that the figures do not tell the whole story. The reality is that more and more people are being forced to live further away from Dublin because of rocketing house prices.
Threshold’s analysis of today’s figures shows quite clearly the continuing growth of counties surrounding the Dublin region. For example, Wexford had a housing build of 3,043 units in 2004 with a population of almost 117,000 people, in comparison to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown which only delivered 1,777 units with a population of nearly 192,000 people. On these figures, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown will not be able to accommodate it own natural rate of increase of population.
Recent housing statistics also show that the same county, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, currently has no proposals to build additional affordable housing either under the 1999 Affordable Housing Scheme or Part V of the Planning and Development Acts. This illustrates that the Government is not doing enough to ensure the provision of affordable housing in the capital, where need is greatest.
Threshold is concerned that serious affordability problems in accessing housing are forcing people to move further and further away from their families and jobs. It warns that the strategies and procedures are not in place to foster sustainable communities suitably served by regional transportation and local facilities such as education and healthcare.
Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said:
“The Government is indicating by today’s statement that it considers housing to be a ‘numbers game’. However we must look behind these figures to see who are we housing and where are we housing them. Threshold is aware of the pressure on family life resulting from long commuting times and the worries people face over childcare. The fact that traffic backed up on the N11 or at the Red Cow Inn is now top news in the morning is a sad reflection on the failure of our spatial strategy.
Threshold is calling on the Government to look more closely at existing land use strategies, particular in relation to the provision of social and affordable housing. Housing in Dublin has been priced out of the market for key workers – teachers, nurses, guards – and specific measures to deal with this are needed urgently. If we continue along this line, Dublin will become unsustainable because the people who run the city won’t be able to live here.”
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Notes to Editor:
The total number of house completions in 2004 was 76,954 units. A breakdown by county is available from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government www.environ.ie (under Media Centre)
The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s Quarterly Housing Statistics Bulletin shows that Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has no current proposals to deliver any affordable housing under the 1999 of Part V Affordable Schemes (see Sept Quarter 2004, pp. 11-12)
According to the 2002 Census, the population of Wexford was 116,596 persons while Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown was 191,792 persons.