Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.47 16 Mar 2021


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Ireland is losing 800 new homes every week the restrictions on the construction industry continue, according to a new report.

The EY study commissioned by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), has highlighted the cost of the partial shutdown to the economy.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said the country could now miss its target of building 25,000 homes this year by 60%.

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Ireland losing 800 new homes every week construction restrictions continue

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“This an independent economic report and I think it lays bare the huge impact the partial lockdown of construction is having on the industry itself, on the employees, on clients and on the wider economy,” he said.

“It shows that we could lose up to 15,000 houses out of the cohort of houses that were expected in an already very scarce production line when we have a housing crisis.

“There is going to be €427m lost in output each week, €156m per week in lost profit in wages, €32m lost to the Exchequer every week in revenue and 2,800 less people employed.

“There are 60,000 construction workers already on the PUP which is costing about €21m a week so it is a massive, massive hit on the industry to be closed down for this long period.”

Skills drain

He noted that many workers are now being poached by companies in the UK and continental Europe where construction is continuing.

“Ireland was the only country to shut down its construction industry and we are the only country now that has a partial opening,” he sai9id.

“The north of Ireland is open, the UK is open and countries right across Europe are open.

“So, construction workers that work hard and are used to earning fairly big money per week are not satisfied to sit home and take the PUP.

“They are moving and they are skilled people that we will badly need when we reopen so that certainly is a factor.”

Mr Parlon said the industry has been monitored by the HSE since last September and has been ofund to be “very, very safe” with few outbreaks and cases associated with it.

"We're not going to catch up"

Asked how long it might take the industry to catch up when the restrictions are lifted, he had a stark warning.

“We are not going to catch up,” he said

“The figures show 800 houses per week and clearly if we don’t open until April 5th, we are going to be down close to 10,000 houses.

“I know there was acceleration last year and when we got going, we also caught up on our target but it is going to be very, very difficult.

“We are budgeting for less houses than we did already and the actual report more or less supports that it could be down to only producing 16,000 houses this current year and that is if we do get started.

“There is now a question mark over that, it is causing uncertainty and the people who should be staying around here to build houses are considering moving elsewhere.”

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Ireland losing 800 new homes every week construction restrictions continue

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