John Moran – “The Man with the (Housing) Plan”

John Moran.

“The Man with the Plan” is a new name coined for me by the lovely people I have met on doorsteps.  It refers to my 60 page three-pillar plan (if elected as mayor), a More Liveable, Healthy and Prosperous Limerick.

So why is a detailed plan important?

Firstly, for voters, it creates a stark contrast with other candidates with lofty promises but only one-page plans without any detail, or worse no plans at all. My plan is there in black and white, like the old Ronseal phrase, my plan “Does exactly what it says on the tin”.

Secondly, no candidate should be elected without a detailed plan so that they can be held to account on delivery and promises.

Thirdly, once a candidate is elected with a detailed plan, it gives the mayor a mandate for any significant new directions.

A More Liveable Limerick – encompasses many aspects of Limerick Life, but is also my housing plan for the county and city and provides the change in policy needed.

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It shows how the housing crisis in Limerick can be solved by scaling, planning, financing and building all the housing we need.

Looking at the facts, in 2023 we built 794 homes – up 22 from the previous year. Homes built at the start of 2024 are down 3% on last year. Limerick is ranked 19 out of 26 counties for the building of homes. 41 homes are available to rent in Limerick on a monthly basis costing €2,000. Limerick City West sees just 12 homes to rent per month and price increases of €8,000 over the past two years.

Not only were the Council not building enough homes to begin with, now we are going in the wrong direction.

This is what government-aligned mayoral candidates or those on the board of Limerick Twenty Thirty can claim to have delivered for Limerick.

The Housing Commission highlights that Limerick needs an additional 2,100 to 4,000 new homes per year – an increase of 164%+.

If this doesn’t send alarm bells throughout the system and among voters, I don’t know what will.

Limerick needs to secure land for and build tens of thousands of homes in the medium to longer-term.  I am even described as radical when I recommend that affordable housing needs to be 20-25% of total housing stock. Better regulation is important to ensure renters are not taken advantage of.  But an even better way is government control of rental properties on a large scale.

Above all, I know that if I don’t have a quicker and more agile short term plan to complement my longer-term plan then housing and rental prices will climb even higher, driving our young from Limerick simply because they cannot afford to live here.

Mayoral candidates that don’t include a short term solution for more housing in Limerick fundamentally misunderstand the housing crisis and how long it will take to build permanent homes. I should know. I grew up watching, and indeed helping my dad, a small builder, build homes for people. I have renovated Georgian buildings myself for housing that are now homes to residents of that historic area.   And as Chair of the Land Development Agency (LDA), engaged to set that agency up in its infancy, I know all too well how the system can tie itself (and the LDA) in knots.

I pointed out much of this to the Housing Minister at the end of my term as LDA Chair. My letter to the Minister has been written about in the press so it is no secret.

My mayoral plan will prepare state lands and growth towns like Foynes and Newcastle West for much greater building of housing.  It proposes zoning and acquiring additional lands to meet much higher demand. My plan is to quickly build the amenities and infrastructure in lands across the city and county and redirect Limerick 2030 to build homes in county towns which the LDA overlooks .

Being honest these will still take years to realise, however firm my resolve.

Because of that, I have a credible short term solution too – the only one proposed by any candidate.

My short-term solution is rapid construction of thousands of system-built homes that can be, and are, often erected in less than a day. Combined with amenities on state land all throughout Limerick these ensure quicker access to homes for our population and will bring down rents for everyone.

As a former Director of the European Investment Bank, I watched frustratingly as our housing crisis got worse and many other countries secured finance for affordable housing projects like the ones we needed.  Finance is available.

My ambition for Limerick will not be more of the same. I want to be the mayor who delivers a Vienna model of affordable housing for Limerick.

And as an independent candidate, I know I can work across party lines to deliver this for Limerick. I won’t be beholden to party policies decided in Dublin like other candidates will.