It’s hardly surprising but two local TD’s have opposing views on figures released earlier today by the Central Statistics Office, (CSO), which show 29,851 new dwellings were completed nationally in 2022. This represents a 45.2% increase on 2021, when 20,560 new dwellings were completed. It the highest annual total since the CSO data series began in 2011. Housing for All, the Government’s housing plan, had a target of 24,600 new homes in 2022.

 Locally in Meath, during the course of last year, the number of homes built rose substantially to 2,001 compared with 1,246 in the year 2021.

 Byrne’s take echoes his partys old slogan, ‘much done more to do’, as he told Meath Live, “These figures shows that housing supply in Meath is increasing and that we are going in the right direction. The Government has met and exceeded its overall housing target for the first year of Housing for All and it is encouraging to see the highest level of housing delivery in over a decade despite unforeseen challenges like high construction cost inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Increasing supply is central to ensuring people can access affordable housing and that our housing market functions more effectively.

 “Whilst this news is positive, the Government recognises that we need to continue ramping up supply and to meet even higher targets. That is why Government colleagues and I remain focused on delivering Housing for All, which contains the right mix of ambition, guaranteed funding, reform, new initiatives and stability of policy to support the delivery of private, social and affordable housing. We will continue to implement the plan whilst remaining open to introducing new measures where needed to address new and emerging challenges.”

O’ Rourke however  sees the glass as half empty, with the SF deputy saying, “The Housing Commission say now that we need to build in the region of 42,000 to 62,000 homes a year out to 2050 to meet predicted demand.

In their report they are critical of Government’s projections and planning. This is not surprising. The Government’s housing plan aims to deliver just 33,000 homes per year, and they are falling short of that.

“Meath is at the very eye of this storm. There is a huge demand for housing and an incredible shortage. It’s essential that we have a plan to address that shortage but, in fact, the opposite is the case. Our plans are based on targets that are outdated and far too low. On the social side, Meath County Council Housing Delivery Action Plan targets are shy of 2000 out to 2027, for example. This is nowhere near enough. On the private side, thousands of acres of land have been dezoned, delivery is slow and the cost of homes has gone through the roof. Asking prices for new 3-bedroom properties on the Dublin border in excess of €485,000 are now common. That is not sustainable.”