The recently published Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report on the construction industry indicates that much of the additional labour required for housing supply and other construction and infrastructural work may have to be secured through inward net migration. However, the report concludes the Irish economy would not appear, at present, to be unduly constrained in terms of labour market.
Increasing housing supply generally, and social and more affordable housing in particular, is, and will remain, a top Government priority. Through the continued delivery on the ambitious programme of action set out in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, the State intends to fully meet its obligations to those who need a home.
Separately, my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, continues to implement a range of measures to ensure that there will be the required number of construction workers in place to support the delivery of the Rebuilding Ireland programme. These measures include:
- educational and training programmes, which aim to develop the skills of apprentices in order to meet the needs of industry and the labour market;
- expanding the range of apprenticeships on offer to meet the identified skills needs of industry;
- SOLAS-funded construction related further education and training programmes provided by Education and Training Boards; and
- working with the Construction Industry Federation, as industry lead, to further develop the national apprenticeship programme.
Following the launch of the National Development Plan under Project Ireland 2040 in February 2018, a Construction Sector Group (CSG) has been established. The role of the CSG is to ensure regular and open dialogue between Government and the construction sector in relation to issues that may impact on the successful delivery of the NDP on a value-for-money basis for the State. The CSG is chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department will continue to participate actively in it.