With the death of a homeless man in front of our parliament, housing has come into sharp focus in the public eye. TOM DUNNE says this is a timely edition of the Journal.
Housing is the issue of the moment and it is the problem of the moment. It is a multifaceted issue and Chartered Surveyors are playing a central role in trying to resolve the problem. Their voices and opinions, often highly critical, can be heard loudly in this edition – Chairman of the Housing Agency, Conor Skehan, spoke at the Annual Conference; Lorcan Sirr of DIT articulates his highly-informed view on the private rented sector; Liz Carey, Housing Officer with Focus Ireland, explains her work; and, of course, the Society’s own study of future housing supply and capacity in Dublin is outlined by Conor O’Donovan. And that’s not to mention Tom Phillips’s view of the planning process in The Last Word. It’s hard to get away from the opening line of Lorcan Sirr’s brilliant article: “Let’s be honest: housing in Ireland is in a mess”. He notes that vested interests have ruined the private rented sector, and implores the Government to listen to the Housing Agency, which is expertly chaired by Conor Skehan.
And speaking of Government, the Minister of State with responsibility for Housing, Planning and co-ordination of the Construction 2020 Plan, Paudie Coffey, is interviewed in this edition (pp6-8). Interestingly, he defines success in his role as the achievement of a return to a normalised and sustainable construction sector. And he and his colleagues are setting great store in their Social Housing Strategy. Like many a Government plan, it reads well: the test will be in its implementation.
On a slightly different tack, but not unrelated, is the view of the future of the built environment. Dan Cook and Chevon Erasmus Porter of the RICS outline the challenges they foresee for Chartered Surveyors over the coming 20 years and suggest that leadership and ethics (their presence or lack of) will be defining factors for the future. Once again, it is a packed and relevant edition – feel free to respond with letters or articles to the Editorial Board of the Society.