Land Development Agency Bill 2021: Second Stage Debate
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
From the Statement by Deputy Thomas Pringle -18th February 2021:
1. " In the overall scheme of things, the Government is not interested in delivering local authority houses for people who need them. The Government is interested in the delivery of houses by developers in the private sector. That is where the Government is coming from. The whole focus of the Government's thinking on housing is wrong. The reality is the Government is thinking about how developers can get work and how we can deliver work to developers, not how we can deliver houses to citizens. If the Government took the view that its role is to deliver houses for citizens, this would be a completely different discussion and we would not even be discussing a land development agency Bill.
2. The LDA is a quango. The great Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Party idea is to set up an agency to do the work that is already being done or should be getting done by local authorities around the country.
In 2020, Donegal County Council opened four social housing developments. It had been more than a decade without building social housing in my constituency, not because of a lack of ability to develop or anything like it but because of a lack of funds made available.
3. The LDA has been in existence since 2018 but this Bill will dissolve that entity and provide for the transfer of its assets, functions and staff, etc., to the new agency. The agency will establish - wait for it - a register of relevant public land. ..
4. Opposition Deputies, local authorities and front-line civil society groups are blue in the face from saying for years that the Government must provide the necessary funding to local authorities to build affordable housing on public-owned land. ..
.. Section 14 of the Bill sets out the process for local authorities to request services from the agency. A ministerial direction may have to be made and there will be terms under which the agency's services will be provided. This is exactly what our failed housing system needs - more bureaucracy. ..
That allows the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to keep a tight fist and control on the spending of money. That is what this is all about.
5. The board will be made up of five to ten directors, all of whom are to be appointed by the Minister. Section 22 of the Bill provides for the disclosure of interests of board members, staff of the agency or a subsidiary designated activity company." -