Cast your minds back 13 months ago when Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan did his own lap of honour, and trumpeted “that “2,000 housing units would be made available in 2012 to people on social housing lists”
Well, 2012 is behind us, so how did Minister Hogan do?
The latest this morning from “super” junior Minister Jan O’Sullivan, is that 68 housing units have recently been acquired for social housing by Tuath Housing Association. The most recent parliamentary question indicated that 203 properties had been acquired, to date, from NAMA. And although neither the “super” junior minister nor RTE says it, 58 of these housing units were in fact provided in 2011 – NOT 2012. These were units at the Beacon South Quarter sold by NAMA to the Cluid Housing Association.
NAMA has bent over backwards to facilitate the Department of the Environment in acquiring homes for social housing. NAMA has delivered its lists of property and made itself available to engage with the Department or others to keep its end of the deal.
The “super” junior minister, who gets a €17,000 premium payment on top of the normal junior minister’s salary of €130,042 was appointed in December 2011, so the non-delivery is as much her fault as her boss’s Minister Hogan. No apology or explanation has been forthcoming for the delay, and the message this morning that €10m has been put aside for NAMA social housing in 2013 doesn’t necessarily fill you with confidence. This equates to just 100 units at €100,000 each, though there might be leasing arrangements which would boost that number.
It is all the more reprehensible because the capital programme was substantially underspent for most of last year, which enabled the health minister to exceed his budget. The capital budget could have been deployed for housing.
We have approximately 100,000 households on a house waiting list in this State equating to an estimated 200,000-plus citizens. When a Minister promises “2,000 housing units would be made available in 2012 to people on social housing lists” you might expect someone, media or Opposition, to hold the Minister to account.
But no, yesterday the super junior minister’s announcement was greeted as an unchallenged good news story.