The Irish government has allocated a large portion of their budget to address the current housing shortage and crisis that is plaguing Ireland. However, due to red tape and many other impediments, much of the budget has not been used yet and is sitting and collecting dust at the moment. Approximately 8% of the 200 million Euro government housing fund has been spent and many people are not happy about this.
The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) was originally allocated 195 million Euros in 2016. Since then only 16 million has been spent and the majority of the budget has been sitting in an account. One of the major problems hindering efficient construction sites is Ireland’s outdated infrastructure. This fund was created to provide investment in public off-site infrastructure including; roads and water. This would cut down costs and time for delivering properties. This fund was created during the government’s creation of the Rebuilding Ireland policy to tackle homelessness and housing issues.
Infrastructure projects have been approved to begin under the fund, but not many have taken off. 30 public infrastructure projects to be exact and they would affect the delivery of approximately 20,000 new homes by 2021. The new Department of Housing Data has shown that only 814 of the predicted homes have been built, which is far below expectations.
Darragh O’Brien, Fianna Fail’s housing spokesman, said, “clearly the red tape surrounding the scheme is clogging up drawdowns,” and describe the rate of spending by the LIHAF as “shocking low”. It seems that the government has executed funds to overcome the housing and homelessness crisis but are not following thru. Delivering 814 of the 20,000 promised homes in three years is under performing to the maximum.
O’Brien credits this lack of action as “compounding the housing crisis”. It seems that the government is not truly trying every avenue to lift their people out of this crisis and is sitting on large sums of taxpayers money and not acting upon promises. Too many delays in the government is causing this once regarded flagship program as obsolete in the grand scheme of things and a promise that was not kept.
O’Brien and many others are calling for the fund to be reviewed and corrective actions to be taken. Eoghan Murphy said that this fund is important in Rebuilding Ireland plan and its goal is to, “enable housing developments to be built on key sites at scale.” Impediments to using the money in this fund need to be re-examined. Until the government is able to speed up policy and be able to implement programs that they put in place the housing crisis and homelessness numbers are not going to improve.