NAMA could be re-purposed to deal with the housing crisis

It is thought the body could become a housing developer for the State

NAMA could be re-purposed to deal with the housing crisis

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar delivers his leaders address at the 2017 Fine Gael Autumn Think- In in Clonmel, Co Tipperary | Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has signalled a major intervention into house developing by re-purposing the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Mr Varadkar says the State may need to step in where private companies have failed and develop land for itself.

He made the comments at the Fine Gael pre-Dáil think-in in Tipperary.

In his opening speech, Mr Varadkar said: "There'll be future announcements about changes to planning regulations, so we can make it more affordable to build apartments in our towns and cities, and more affordable for people to buy them.

"And also we're examining the possibility of re-purposing NAMA to develop lands on behalf of the State - to step in where the private sector has failed".

It would mean the once 'bad bank' could become a State-owned housing developer.

It could look at social housing as well as developing houses for sale.

NAMA is predicted to have a surplus of some €3m.

Speaking more generally about the housing crisis, Mr Varadkar said: "This Government understands the stress faced by people without a home as well as those struggling to buy one.

"In 2012 some people said we would never get on top of the jobs crisis, as unemployment hit 15%, but we did. We will bring the same determination and focus to solving the housing crisis.

"(Housing) Minister Murphy continues to work on solutions and as he comes to those decisions he will announce them."