• 14 Jan 2022

Housing Commission Holds First Meeting - Appointees Include RIAI CEO Kathryn Meghen

The first meeting of the newly formed Housing Commission took place on 12 January and was attended by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD. The commission’s Chair is John O’Connor, former Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Agency and the RIAI is delighted that CEO Kathryn Meghen has been appointed to the commission.

The establishment of the Commission fulfils commitments made in the Programme for Government and in Housing for All, the government’s national plan on housing to 2030. The Commission will examine long-term housing policy, beyond 2030, and report to Government on how to build on policy changes committed to under Housing for All. It is envisaged that the Commission will take a trans-governmental and enduring approach towards housing policy, and will play a role in the State achieving good quality, affordable homes for all.

The Commission will be tasked with examining and reporting on:

  • maintaining a sustainable housing supply and providing balance and choice of tenures, having regard to social, environmental and economic objectives
  • the cost and quality of housing, the drivers of cost (including, inter alia, embodied carbon compliance), and how costs may be addressed and compliance achieved in the longer term
  • the capacity of the construction sector to meet housing supply requirements
  • the affordability of private rental accommodation
  • the affordability of house purchasing for first-time buyers, examining in particular, measures that would complement or enhance the recently introduced affordable housing measures (including new models of affordable housing)
  • rural housing and how it can be facilitated in a socially and environmentally sustainable way and allows for development of appropriate one-off housing
  • the need for regulation of social housing
  • the optimum role of Approved Housing Bodies in housing provision, including their role regarding the needs of vulnerable groups
  • the referendum on housing (the Commission will examine the complex constitutional questions arising and examine the various proposals that have been made around potential wording for a Constitutional amendment. It will make recommendations on the appropriate wording to be put to the people)

The Commission will submit reports on these areas to the Minister by the end of July 2023.

Attending the first meeting, Minister O’Brien said:

The government recognises the need for a long-term approach to housing policy, an enduring approach that transcends changes of government. We need to build consensus on how we address our housing issues. That is why, as promised under Housing for All and the Programme for Government, we’ve established a Housing Commission, which will now begin to examine long-term housing policy issues.

The Commission will look at important issues like housing tenure, cost, quality and supply, the cost of private rental accommodation and social housing. I look forward to receiving its work and ensuring it informs long-term housing policy. I want to thank the members for agreeing to be members and want to wish the commission well with its work.”

John O’Connor, Chair of the Commission, said:

There is great commitment and focus among members and the Commission is ready to embark on its important programme of work.

"As Chair, I intend to work with all other Commission members to ensure we deliver against its Terms of Reference and provide solutions to how we create a sustainable housing system, delivering the quality homes that are needed, for the long-term.”

The Commission is comprised of 12 members: Mr John O’Connor (Chair); two international experts, appointed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; and nine other members, selected following a publically advertised expressions of interest process. An assessment panel made recommendations to the Minister, who appointed these members.

The members of the Commission are:

  • Pat Doyle, CEO Peter McVerry Trust
  • Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General Housing Europe (International)
  • Paddy Gray, Housing Expert (International)
  • Patricia King, General Secretary Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  • Ronan Lyons, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin
  • Kathryn Meghen, CEO Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI)
  • Michelle Norris, Director of the Geary Institute for Public Policy and Professor of Social Policy UCD
  • David O'Connor, Consultant and Former County Manager of Fingal County Council
  • John O'Connor, Chair of Housing Commission
  • Michael O'Flynn, Chair and CEO of O'Flynn Group
  • Brian O'Gorman, Chief Executive Cluid Housing
  • Ailbhe O'Neill, Barrister and Trinity College Dublin School of Law

More information can be found here.