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Speech by An Taoiseach, Mr. Leo Varadkar, T.D., for the sod-turning at Beech Hill Housing Project

 

Minister Murphy, Members of the Oireachtas, Councillors, Ladies and Gentlemen. Good morning, everyone.
Thank you Robin. And thank you to the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and the Royal Hospital Donnybrook Voluntary Housing Association for the kind invitation to join you here today to ‘turn the sod’ on the Beech Hill Housing Project.
This is a significant event and it is right that we mark the occasion.
As you know, The Royal Hospital Donnybrook has a rich heritage of caring, dating back to its foundation in 1743.
This project builds on that great work, looking out for disadvantaged people and people with disabilities going back almost 275 years.
I congratulate the Royal Hospital Donnybrook Voluntary Housing Association on its leadership of the project, which I’m delighted has been funded under the Capital Assistance Scheme.
I also thank you for your continued delivery of high-quality homes, comprehensive housing management services and tenant supports, for some of the more vulnerable members of our society.
This project would never have been possible without the wide range of backers. So it is right that we acknowledge and thank the local residents, Dublin City Council, and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and all who have supported this development.
On that note, I want to acknowledge my colleague Minister Eoghan Murphy here today. Eoghan is on the board of Royal Hospital Donnybrook and is a great supporter of this project and of the work of the Royal Hospital.
This project will not only provide a secure home in which people can remain independent for longer, but also a sense of community for every resident.
Your Association, and others like it, play an important role in tackling the housing needs of so many, which is particularly necessary given the housing shortage we face at present.
I know you have set an ambitious target to have an additional 130 units in train by the end of 2019, which shows your determination to make a real difference.
The voluntary and co-operative housing sector has a successful track-record in providing accommodation for people who need it the most, especially in situations where tenancy supports and low to medium level care is required.
The work done by you and similar bodies is important and I hope it continues. Thank you for all that you have done, and all you will do in the future.
Housing Policy
When it comes to ending the housing crisis, we have done much and know we must do more. The Government’s €6 billion housing programme will build 5,000 new homes next year alone.
We already provide housing for 80 people and their families every working day. In 2018 that will increase to more than a hundred every working day.
That’s 25,000 new tenancies throughout the course of the year. Homelessness in Ireland is low by international standards. That’s a good thing but it isn’t good enough. Homelessness is a stain on our society and must be reduced.
So, there will be an 18% increase in the budget for homelessness next year.
In the months and years ahead, we will continue to focus like a laser beam on housing. We will bring to it the same determination that we brought to solving the unemployment crisis when we first came to office.
We believe everyone should have a home and that all young people should be able to aspire to own their own one.
And we won’t rest until we succeed.
Conclusion
Therefore I look forward to hearing of progress with this development and its ultimate completion in September 2018, when a further 19 people will be provided with a safe and secure place to call home.
And so, it gives me great pleasure to ‘turn the sod’ on this wonderful project.