Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (75)

John Gormley

Question:

59 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress he has made in providing 10,000 new homes under the Sustaining Progress agreement. [27589/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Substantial progress continues to be made on the affordable housing initiative under the Sustaining Progress agreement. Part V affordable units are also an important contribution to the initiative. More than 50 projects on State and local authority lands are planned at this stage which, together with some 2,100 affordable Part V units, will deliver a total of approximately 8,900 units under the initiative. My Department is engaged with a number of other Departments and State agencies with a view to securing further lands to reach the agreed target of 10,000 units. In particular, the Department of Health and Children is examining an inventory of health board lands to identify lands which could potentially yield 1,500 units to the initiative.

Construction has commenced on the Finglas Road site. A number of other projects have been advertised for expressions of interest, including the St. Bricin's military hospital site which was advertised as part of the O'Devaney Gardens redevelopment. Following a short-listing process, it is understood the request for proposals for the St Bricin's site will be issued this month. The Jamestown Road and Infirmary Road projects were advertised for expressions of interest in late September. Collectively, it is estimated that these four projects have the potential to yield more than 700 affordable housing units under the initiative. All projects are being progressed as a priority with activities being paralleled as necessary with a view to early delivery of units.

A number of additional strategies, put forward by the Construction Industry Federation, including the possibility of land swaps, which may accelerate delivery of housing units, are currently being examined as a matter of urgency.

My Department will continue to work with the parties to the pay agreement to expedite effective implementation of the initiative. There is a strong commitment in Government to deliver on this initiative and I believe that the substantial progress made to date emphasises this commitment.