In the Letter section of the Irish Times, the DDPA has published a response to recent newspaper opinion pieces by senior executives in Ireland's property industry, who call for additional changes to legislation that favour their industry.
Sir, – Recent opinion pieces from a director of Property Industry Ireland (Tony Reddy, “Why we’re not building enough affordable houses”, August 13th) and the chief executive of Irish Institutional Property (Pat Farrell, “Ireland needs a housing policy for five million people”, Business, August 15th) reveal the unease of the industry at its failure to deliver the housing that we so urgently need. Despite Government doing everything asked of it for over the last eight years, the blame is laid on everything and everyone other than the industry itself. The Government has introduced over 28 of the mandatory regulations of the type that Mr Reddy argues for in supporting the reduced amenity sought by Property Industry Ireland. These have all whittled away at standards and shifted power from planning authorities to the Minister of the day, on the promise of supply. The damage this has done to the development plan process that they overrule and to the citizens’ trust in the planning system will take years to repair. The strategic housing development system, another initiative of Property Industry Ireland, has so tarnished An Bord Pleanála that it may never recover. The promised housing never came. Irish Institutional Property seeks to overprovide zoned land. It does not explain why the industry has not delivered on the huge overhang of granted planning permissions. Perhaps if it were willing to agree a “windfall” tax or a “use it or lose it” tax on the zoned land that they already own, it might discover a good source of the zoned land abundance that it seeks. The only factor holding back housing supply by the private sector is the level of profit that can be made from development. Everything else, including affordability, is peripheral. That profit motive is its duty to its shareholders, but proper planning should be more concerned with the common good. Our duty is not just to our grandchildren but to our children as well. That duty should be to leave them with a better world, not a worse one. – Yours, etc, ROBIN MANDAL, FRIAI Chairman, Dublin Democratic Planning Alliance,