Housing tops agenda in government formation talks

12/05/2020 - 06:30

By Daniel McConnell
Additional reporting by Aoife Moore and Paul Hosford

Giving the Land Development Agency new powers to build social and affordable housing on public and private lands will be top of the agenda of Government talks today between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

Housing is to dominate government formation talks today.

Issues such as dealing with homelessness, reducing the cost of land and prioritising homeownership to enable more people to own their homes and increase the number of new social houses will form the basis of discussions, it has emerged.It is expected that housing will involve long-running and detailed negotiations as all three parties have stated that the issue should be top of the agenda for the next government amid the country's ongoing housing crisis.

Talks kicked off on Monday with representatives from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party negotiating justice issues.

The talks saw party spokespeople, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Roderic O'Gorman from the Green Party and Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan, and their fellow negotiators, split into smaller sub-groups in an effort to find areas and policies on which they agree. One party source noted that it was "a tame enough start to the week".

Although the subject of the day's talks was confirmed early on, the parties have agreed to keep anything discussed during the talks "100% confidential" in an effort to ensure the negotiations are not marred by leaks to the media, or influence by public or party pressure, with one Green TD saying he will be "vigorously ignoring" calls until talks had ended.

A source close to the talks says that the urgency with which the talks will progress has been increased, as the country's legislative needs in light of the Covid-19 outbreak have become clearer in the recent weeks: "There's a lot of work that the new government will need to do, some laws will need to be passed before the summer break, so hopefully things that can move quickly."

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