“The current housing shortage is the result of a decade of underinvestment in the housebuilding sector compounded by an infrastructure deficit and a market failure in finance for homebuilders. Currently housebuilding, outside Dublin and Cork, cannot attract finance at viable rates so activity is and will continue to be permanently depressed.  If house-building only occurs in urban areas over the next decade this will fundamentally unbalance the country further; Dublin will continue to congest and regional economies will be undermined.

The severity of the construction recession saw numbers working in construction decline by almost 180,000 by Q1 2013 to just 35 per cent of the numbers employed at the peak (2007). However, Construction has recorded the fastest rate of employment growth in the period since, gaining 39,200 jobs at a rate of around 1,000 per month.

A recent report by DKM commissioned by the CIF found that the Irish Construction Industry will require 112,000 additional workers up to 2020 to deliver the Government’s housing and infrastructure targets. This poses fundamental challenges to the industry and the state in developing skilled labour within the current education and training system.

The industry will have to grow by 9% on average per year up to 2020 to meet demand. This is a huge opportunity to develop a sustainable construction industry by putting in place a long-term growth strategy similar to those established with the food and financial services industries. The price of inaction on this is a continuing housing and homelessness crisis, the decline of rural Ireland and a congested capital, choking under the weight of producing almost 50% of Irish GDP.”