Mica redress scheme details will be known before Christmas - Darragh O'Brien

The Housing Minister says the Government 'won't be delivering' 33,000 houses a year that we need
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.38 24 Nov 2021

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Mica redress scheme details wi...

Mica redress scheme details will be known before Christmas - Darragh O'Brien

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.38 24 Nov 2021

Share this article

The Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien says work on the mica redress scheme is almost finished, and he hopes to bring it to Cabinet next week.

Ministers were due to consider proposals on Tuesday for compensating homeowners affected by the defective blocks.

The plan has faced a number of delays in getting Government approval.


But Minister O'Brien told Lunchtime Live details will be out before Christmas.

"I inherited this scheme - and I promised and I made a commitment that we want to make it better, we want to make it workable.

"We're nearly concluded on that... and I'm hoping to be able to bring the revisions to this scheme to Cabinet next Tuesday".

Asked if residents and those affected will have details before Christmas, he says: "Yes, they will know.

"Loads of good work has gone into it - will residents know before Christmas? Absolutely.

"What I can say to you is the revisions to the scheme that I'll bring forward will be significantly, significantly better than what's there."

While Minister O'Brien says the Government will not deliver 33,000 houses a year as outlined in the Housing for All plan.

The plan, launched in September, aims to increase the supply of housing to an average of 33,000 per year over the next decade.

This would be a mix of social, affordable and private housing for sale and rent.

But he says this figure is unlikely to be reached.

"It is tough; and I suppose COVID exacerbated the problem even more and magnified it.

"We've had two years of under-supply because we had two significant construction shutdowns.

"Last year we completed about 21,000 - public and private - we'll do a bit better this year and we'll [get] caught up for some lost time."

"We'll do better than last year, but we won't be delivering the 33,000 houses a year that we need."

Home ownership 'out of people's hands'

But he says things will get better - noting that people are now buying homes while in their 30s, instead of their 20s.

"That just shows you that that dream of home ownership has been out of people's hands for the guts of 10 years.

"But - to be positive about, but being realistic - that can change and that is going to change."

He says the number of new constructions - 30,500 in the year to September - has gone up this year.

"But without supply, and without supply across all tenures - for affordable purchase, for social housing, for private and indeed for rental - we're not going to be able to tackle the affordability piece.

"So the projections are good, and I see 2022 as a year where we're really going to start to see significant delivery on the affordable and social and private housing side.

"The projections into that are good because the sector's responded well to the [Housing for All] plan."

He says the goal of "up towards 30,000" homes a year will be reached "between next year and the year after".

And he says the issue of affordability will be impacted.

"One of the things is fundamentally supply, so we're seeing supply already slowly increasing, and that will become more obvious next year".

Affordable Purchase Scheme

Minister O'Brien says the Affordable Purchase Scheme will see "the State giving them a hand to bridge the gap between what they have and what they need."

On Central Bank regulations, of being able to borrow a maximum of 3.5-times of gross income, he says the Government schemes should help with this.

"The Central Bank - they're independent of us - and obviously they set the macro-prudential rules and the rules on borrowing.

"They're actually being reviewed and are due to report on it very, very shortly.

"That aside though, that's why the affordable hosing schemes that are in place now will actually help someone... the gap between what they have and what they need I'm proposing would be filled by the State.

"Not by way of a second mortgage, but by way of an equity in the house."

And he says banks should take more into account for potential home owners.

"We need our banks to - in my view - to really take into account people's history of ability to pay.

"We don't want people going for 100% mortgages again, I think everyone understands that.

"But I think when you can show that you have a proven track record of being able to afford a certain payment, and when the mortgage repayment is actually going to be less".

Mica redress scheme details will be known before Christmas - Darragh O'Brien

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