Dáil Éireann - Volume 303 - 15 February, 1978

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cost of Building Land.

13. Dr. Browne asked the Minister for the Environment the average cost of building land per acre in the Dublin city and county areas in 1967, 1972, and 1977.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Barrett): The information sought by the Deputy is not available in my Department. However, the average prices per acre of land acquired by agreement, primarily for housing by Dublin County Council and Dublin Corporation in 1967, 1972 and 1976 were approximately £1,500, £2,000 and £4,000 respectively. The corresponding figure for 1977 is not yet available.

Dr. Browne: Because of the implications in regard to the cost of local authority and private housing would the Minister not agree that some action should be taken. These are frightening figures without even finding out the 1977 one. Would the Minister not agree further that all of the other components of a house are subject to some kind of price control by the National Prices Commission and, in those circumstances, would he not consider [1329] the institution of some sort of price control in relation to land for housing purposes in the county and city of Dublin?

Mr. Barrett: With regard to some form of control on the price of sites for houses the CRV does exercise a certain amount of control in this respect even at present. I said in reply to a question last November, when asked about the Kenny Report, that I would have the matter reviewed. The Kenny Report is under review at present, but at this stage I could not say what will be the outcome.

Dr. Browne: Would the Minister not agree that there are very special circumstances in the city and county of Dublin in that local authority and even private housebuilders are in competition with the highly speculative office building interests? In those circumstances, even on the basis of the figures he has given—very frightening ones— would he not agree that he should take action in order to ensure that houses are kept within reasonable access of the unfortunate young people who are trying to buy them?

Mr. Barrett: I agree that it does create a problem.

Dr. Browne: Might I ask the Minister if he is going to do anything about the problem? It is that in which I am interested.

An Ceann Comhairle: I am calling the next question.

Mr. Barrett: As I told some Member who asked a question last November, we are reviewing the situation.

Mr. Quinn: The Minister can put that to music.

Mr. Barrett: Therefore, I am looking at the situation.

Dr. Browne: Could the Minister give us any indication as to how long it will be before he can take some decision, such as taking county and city land for building purposes into public ownership? Why can he not do that? Would the Minister take power to do that?

[1330] An Ceann Comhairle: Order, please.

Mr. Barrett: I have no plans to do that at present.