The Association of Irish Local Government (AILG), through its President Cllr. Mary Hoade, has directly raised concerns with Minister Darragh O’Brien in relation to the recently published Land Development Agency Bill 2021.
AILG has supported measures over the last number of years to assist in the delivery of much needed housing as we continue to tackle our housing and homelessness crisis and we recognise the importance of all measures required in resolving the challenges facing those affected by this crisis.
While AILG has concerns with certain aspects of the proposed legislation, we are also concerned with the potential implications for local authorities, and our Elected Members, in their delivery of social and affordable housing into the future given the proposed extensive powers that the Land Development Agency will have as envisaged in the bill.
AILG has raised initial grave concerns with the proposal to remove the Section 183 reserved function of our members, in relation to the disposal of local authority owned land. We find this provision a total contradiction, as the purpose of the LDA (as defined in section 14 of the bill) is to provide services to local authorities in order to assist them in the performance of their functions relating to development of sites for housing and urban development, yet this proposal, in one fell swoop, takes away an important reserved function of our members as Elected Members of their Local Authority.
Cllr. Hoade has stated “As a national representative body we can never support or accept any diminution in the reserved functions and powers of our Elected Members and we will be seeking that this section of the bill be removed.”
While AILG is committed to working with the Minister, the government and indeed all members of the Oireachtas to address our ongoing housing and homelessness crisis, we must ensure the primacy of Local Authorities in continuing to be the lead provider of social and affordable housing and that they are central to any public housing delivery programme. This is a stated commitment in the current programme for government and there cannot be any deviation from that.
We will be engaging with the Minister and all Oireachtas Members over the coming weeks and months as the bill progresses through the Dáil and Seanad legislative process.