“Some of NAMA’s €2 billion investment fund should be used to bring unfinished Northside housing developments up to standard”, Senator Averil Power told the Minister for Finance this week.

Speaking in a special Seanad debate on the National Asset Management Agency, Senator Power welcomed NAMA’s intention to invest at least €2 billion in Ireland over the coming four years. She also stressed to the Minister the need for some of this investment to be earmarked for improvements to unfinished housing estates.

“Many families are living in half-finished developments, with unsightly building sites outside their front doors”, she said. “Roads and public areas haven’t been finished properly and the whole environment is far from that which they were promised when they bought their homes. In some cases, the area may even be dangerous for children, as we saw with the tragic drowning of a child in a building site across from his home in Galway last February.”

Many of the developments affected are linked to NAMA-controlled loans. According to Senator Power, “NAMA owes a direct responsibility to the families in its own developments. In addition, it also has a role to play in helping to bring the living environment in all unfinished estates up to a good standard.

“The original plans for many developments may never be delivered as there simply won’t be demand in the foreseeable future for extra housing of the scale originally planned. The Department of the Environment should ensure that revised plans are drawn up and delivered now to bring the infrastructure and public facilities in each estate up to a pleasant and safe standard as soon as possible. Provision should also be made for the delivery of any promised community facilities, such as parks and playgrounds that have not been put in place yet.

“NAMA should then step in and oversee the delivery of these plans, drawing from its investment fund and forcing developers to pay a contribution where this is possible.

“Investment in unfinished estates by NAMA would make both social and economic sense. It would provide families with the facilities they deserve. Additionally, it would also improve the value of any empty properties on NAMA’s loan book and the value of the neighbouring undeveloped land, thereby increasing the likelihood of the agency getting a good return for the taxpayer on NAMA-controlled loans.

“The improvement works would also provide badly needed employment in the construction industry, by creating up to 25,000 direct and indirect construction jobs”, she concluded.




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