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Delivering on Housing in Ireland

A European Policy Perspective

10 July 2023 | Published in Future of the EU & Housing, Housing Systems in Transition

On the 7th of July, the Housing Europe Observatory published its latest research report – Delivery on Housing in Ireland. The report was commissioned by Barry Andrews, MEP for the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament.

Mr Andrews commissioned the report in order to answer two important questions:

  1. How does Ireland compare with our European neighbours when it comes to our performance in housing?  
  2. What can we learn from Europe about how to better meet housing needs in Ireland?  

The report, produced by Housing Europe, notes that Ireland faces many challenges in the area of housing. These challenges encompass several aspects such as the inability of the supply of housing to meet the growing demand driven by demographic factors. Additionally, the affordability of available homes poses a significant issue for many average households, consequently leading to problems like homelessness and housing exclusion. Moreover, there are concerns regarding the overall quality of the national housing stock, particularly given the recent substantial rise in the cost of living and Ireland's commitment to achieving ambitious climate objectives.

However, Ireland is not alone in facing challenges with regard to housing; these issues extend across Europe. Therefore, it is essential to contextualise the Irish housing situation within a broader European perspective.

The briefing is based on four main strands:

  1. A brief overview of the current housing situation in Ireland and Dublin, focusing in on the key issues of supply, unmet needs, affordability, and performance;
  2. Placing the situation in Ireland and Dublin within a broader European context, by way of comparing them to a host of comparator countries and cities; namely Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and their respective capitals
  3. A brief overview of the EU dimension in housing – funding packages, relevant legislation, and measures to tackle housing exclusion
  4. Looking at different policy tools that have been shown to be effective in other EU member states, and which could contribute to improving housing outcomes in Ireland

Taken together, these four strands should help to provide some inspiration to policymakers and other relevant housing stakeholders in Ireland, and elsewhere in the EU, to reimagine their current approach to housing.

The report concludes that: “Overall, while Ireland clearly faces an uphill battle with regard to the current housing situation, the challenges discussed in this briefing are certainly far from being insurmountable. The enhanced commitments on housing made in Housing for All, and more recently with the allocation of additional funds for cost-rental developments, show that the Irish government recognises that much more is required from the public sector, and that a broad and diverse set of policies are required. If the same commitment can be maintained, though with some changes to account for new information and changed circumstances – such as the higher population growth and doubts about the ability of the private sector to meet targets – then real progress can be achieved”.