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10 minutes with Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH)

Meet the faces behind housing providers across Europe

Dublin, 9 March 2016 | Social, Urban, Economy, Energy
Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of ICSH
Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of ICSH

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we "fly" to Dublin, in Ireland. Dr. Donal McManus, CEO of ICSH introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the country and shares some thoughts about the current housing crisis. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.



  • I would describe ICSH in 10 words as the National federation of housing associations with 270 members in a sector managing 30,000 homes in over 500 communities.
  • Our key objective is the promotion of non-profit housing associations for the relief of housing need and homelessness.
  • Apart from housing provision, our mission is acting as a representative body for affiliated members; provision of information, advice, guidance, education, training and research.
  • We joined Housing Europe because it is a strong platform at EU level of like-minded housing federations with a strong mutual learning and exchange that would benefit our sector in Ireland.

In Ireland

  • Housing is considered to be in Ireland in very short supply, particularly in urban areas. Housing and homelessness is currently one of the two national priorities (with Health). These issues have wide political consensus that these are deep problems affecting our generation and need to be tackled now, and over a long-period of time with sustained commitment and resources.
  • Our key partners in the country are local authorities, elected members,  the Department of the Environment, Communities and Local Government, the Housing Agency, the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and financial institutions, the private development sector and other relevant Government Departments such as Health.
  • Our main housing policy priority at the moment is play our part to dramatically increase the supply of good quality social housing provided by housing associations in the current housing crisis, which in turn would reduce waiting times for those seeking social housing.
  • The major challenge for the country today is to increase the supply of both newly built private and social housing which in turn would ensure home ownership and private rental becomes more affordable, and social housing is more accessible to the thousands of households on waiting lists.

In person

  • I start my working day with checking emails, reading and listening to relevant news and updates, particularly those that are related to housing.
  • After leaving the office I listen to the radio before going home and relaxing with the family.
  • Currently I am reading ‘Banco’ by Henri Charriere …, while listening to ‘Snow Patrol’ not always at the same time though...
  • I move around by car or occasionally (Luas) tram
  • I prefer having on my table a bottle of water and a pen that writes!


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