Minister told housing tops list of concerns of Shannon Chamber members

Darragh O'Brien, Minister for Housing pictured at the Shannon Chamber lunch in Dromoland Castle Hotel with (from left): Eoin Gavin, President, Shannon Chamber; Colin MacDonald, chief executive, Fine Grain Property; and Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber. Photo: Eamon Ward.

HOUSING in the Shannon and greater Mid West area is “too grave an issue to ignore” the Housing Minister was told at a recent Shannon Chamber event.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien was the keynote speaker at a recent luncheon event held by Shannon Chamber’s, with Chamber president Eoin Gavan telling him that there are a number of issues hampering housing development in the area.

Among these, he said, is the availability of zoned and serviced land to be used for housing.

Mr Gavan also said that Chamber member companies had been left with no other option than to seek solutions to the housing crisis by purchasing and renovating apartments or houses to be used as staff accommodation.

In response, the Housing Minister said that events such as the Shannon Chamber luncheon were useful to be able to talk to companies and hear their issues, as well as being able to give them updates on housing developments.

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“Since 2020, the year this government entered office, more than 100,000 new homes have been built. The pipeline of commencements is also very encouraging, with building starting on 32,081 new homes in 2023 – the highest number of commencements for a single year since the records began a decade ago,” Minister O’Brien told gathered Chamber members.

“I am confident that we will continue to build on this progress, across the country and in the Shannon region.”

Other issues discussed at the event were the preparation of a Designated Marine Area Plans (DMAPS) to enable the development of an offshore wind energy sector off the west coast, and funding to enable the delivery of the Shannon Town Centre Masterplan.

Speaking after the event, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said she was encouraged by the Minister’s response and his understanding of the need to develop Shannon to its full potential.

“Shannon Chamber will continue to advocate on issues that impact Shannon and the region until a positive outcome is attained and the region’s potential is realised,” she said.