Housing Commission holds first meeting

  • Key Housing for All action establishes Commission to examine long-term housing policy issues
  • Commission to look at important issues like housing tenure, cost, quality and supply, the cost of private rental accommodation and social housing
  • Wording of Referendum on Housing to be examined

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD attended the first meeting of the newly formed Housing Commission today. The commission’s Chair is John O’Connor, former Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Agency. The establishment of the Commission fulfils commitments made in the Programme for Government and in Housing for All, the Government’s national plan on housing to 2030.

The Commission will examine long-term housing policy, beyond 2030, and report to Government on how to build on policy changes committed to under Housing for All. It is envisaged that the Commission will take a trans-governmental and enduring approach towards housing policy, and will play a role in the State achieving good quality, affordable homes for all.

The Commission will be tasked with examining and reporting on:

• maintaining a sustainable housing supply and providing balance and choice of tenures, having regard to social, environmental and economic objectives

• the cost and quality of housing, the drivers of cost (including, inter alia, embodied carbon compliance), and how costs may be addressed and compliance achieved in the longer term

• the capacity of the construction sector to meet housing supply requirements

• the affordability of private rental accommodation

• the affordability of house purchasing for first-time buyers, examining in particular, measures that would complement or enhance the recently introduced affordable housing measures (including new models of affordable housing)

• rural housing and how it can be facilitated in a socially and environmentally sustainable way and allows for development of appropriate one-off housing

• the need for regulation of social housing

• the optimum role of Approved Housing Bodies in housing provision, including their role regarding the needs of vulnerable groups

• the referendum on housing (the Commission will examine the complex constitutional questions arising and examine the various proposals that have been made around potential wording for a Constitutional amendment. It will make recommendations on the appropriate wording to be put to the people).

The commission will submit reports on these areas to the Minister by the end of July 2023.

Attending the first meeting today, Minister O’Brien said:

“The Government recognises the need for a long-term approach to housing policy, an enduring approach that transcends changes of government. We need to build consensus on how we address our housing issues. That is why, as promised under Housing for All and the Programme for Government, we’ve established a Housing Commission, which will now begin to examine long-term housing policy issues.

“The Commission will look at important issues like housing tenure, cost, quality and supply, the cost of private rental accommodation and social housing. I look forward to receiving its work and ensuring it informs long-term housing policy. I want to thank the members for agreeing to be members and want to wish the commission well with its work.”

John O’Connor, Chair of the Commission, said:

“There is great commitment and focus among members and the Commission is ready to embark on its important programme of work.

As Chair, I intend to work with all other Commission members to ensure we deliver against its Terms of Reference and provide solutions to how we create a sustainable housing system, delivering the quality homes that are needed, for the long-term.”

More information on the commission can be found at gov.ie/housingcommission .

Ends

Notes to Editors

Housing Commission

• The Commission is comprised of 12 members: Mr John O’Connor (Chair); two international experts, appointed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; and nine other members, selected following a publically advertised expressions of interest process. An assessment panel made recommendations to the Minister, who appointed these members.

• Members of the Commission include:

Pat Doyle, CEO Peter McVerry Trust

Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General Housing Europe (International)

Paddy Gray, Housing Expert (International)

Patricia King, General Secretary Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

Ronan Lyons, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin

Kathryn Meghen, CEO Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI)

Michelle Norris, Director of the Geary Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Social Policy UCD

David O’Connor, Consultant and Former County Manager of Fingal County Council

John O’Connor, Chair of Housing Commission

Michael O’Flynn, Chair and CEO of O’Flynn Group

Brian O’Gorman, Chief Executive Cluid Housing

Ailbhe O’Neill, Barrister and Trinity College Dublin School of Law

• Over the course of Commission’s work, the Commission and/or its subcommittees will consult with external experts and stakeholders and will have an important role to build consensus on housing issues. The commission will submit reports on these areas to the Minister by the end of July 2023.

• July 2023 refers to the latest date by which reports may be concluded and does not preclude earlier reporting. The feasibility of reporting earlier than that date will be a matter for the Commission to consider.

Context

• Housing for All, the Government’s national plan on housing to 2030, commits to the establishment of a Housing Commission: “Establish a Commission on Housing to examine issues including standards, sustainability and quality-of-life issues in the provision of housing”, with a timeline of Q4 2021.

• The Programme for Government also commits to establishing a Housing Commission to examine issues such as tenure, standards, sustainability and quality-of-life issues in the provision of housing, all of which have long-term impacts on communities. It also contains a commitment to hold a referendum on housing. It is planned that the Housing Commission will bring forward proposals on the wording for the referendum.

• Details of the call for expressions of interest for members of the commission (and its terms of reference) can be found here: