Tipperary County Council was called on in the Dáil today (July 8th) to increase its landbank for the development of social and affordable housing. Nenagh was described as a ‘thriving town’ and a ‘satellite town’ for Limerick that is desperately in need of affordable housing by Fianna Fáil T.D. Jackie Cahill when he called on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to put pressure on Tipperary County Council to purchase lands on the outskirts of the town. Deputy Cahill made these comments during a debate on the Affordable Housing Bill, where he highlighted one of the greatest impediments to house building in Tipperary being the lack of a publicly-owned landbank for development.
Speaking in the Dáil during the Committee Stage debate on the Affording Housing Bill, being progressed under Fianna Fáil Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, Cahill said: “Demand is far outstripping supply in every part of my county, and while I very much welcome the 103 social housing units you [Minister O’Brien] have signed off on for Tipperary – between Roscrea, Cahir and Carrick-on-Suir – in the last two months alone, we need much more.
“Daft.ie’s most recent report shows that house prices in Tipperary have risen by 19% in the last year. This is completely and utterly unsustainable.”
The Fianna Fáil T.D. then went on to mention the need for Tipperary County Council to acquire landbanks for housing development, with the Minister responding positively to Cahill’s comments. Riverston Estate in Nenagh, which has recently been advertised for sale on the Dublin Road out of Nenagh was highlighted by Deputy Cahill saying: “I wrote to senior county management on this issue recently and stated my belief in no uncertain terms that this opportunity cannot be passed up on.”
Deputy Cahill stated that this 50 acre site is in a prime location for the development of social and affordable housing for families. According to the Government T.D., it also possesses significant potential for the expansion of Nenagh Town Park and other public amenities, tourist attractions and nature walks on the town’s doorstep..
Cahill said: “I believe that the Council must give serious consideration to the purchase of these lands, on both sides of the R445. It is very rare that such an opportunity unveils itself on the outskirts of a major rural town like Nenagh, and I firmly believe that such an opportunity should not be missed.
“The Dublin side of Nenagh has seen very little housing development over the years, in comparison with the Borrisokane and Limerick sides of the town. This is a clear opportunity for the Council to purchase prime zoned lands for the development of social and affordable housing, as well as creating new public spaces, tourist attractions and amenities on the town’s doorstep.”
In response to Deputy Cahill, Minister Darragh O’Brien said: “In relation to Deputy Jackie Cahill’s point, and I just want to put this on the record of the House, because he has been good enough to raise it. Affordability is an issue across the country. It’s not just an urban issue, it’s acute across the country and we want to address it across the country.
“In the last month, Deputy Cahill, I instructed all of our local authorities to get out and acquire landbanks because we need to build more social and more affordable homes and we need our councils to the forefront of that. We have asked them to acquire land, not just for the provision of social but for the provision of affordable”, concluded the Housing Minister.
Deputy Cahill committed to continuing his engagement with both senior management of Tipperary County Council and his colleagues in the Department of Housing in relation to the provision of social and affordable housing for Tipperary.