Hen, Egg, Egg, Hen?

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council, 18th September 2017

Build and they will come

Where there are jobs, there are people and where there are people there should be homes to house them. Providing enough homes nationwide continues to be one our biggest national economic challenges, but one we’re all set on sorting out, sooner rather than later.

The highest ladder starts with the lowest rung

I’ve just been reading today’s numbers for planning permissions and, accepting that it’s from a very low base, there is more than a little light beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel. It’s estimated that housebuilding should pick up quite sharply in the coming months. Permits for new housing up a whopping 46% (I’ve acknowledged it’s from a low base) for the first half of the year.

Hard to argue with some big figures

Without wishing to sound like an ancient Chinese philosopher we accept that the longest journey starts with the smallest steps. We do have a long way to go, but our journey, as shown by the numbers, has gone beyond those tentative first few steps, though. I also know that some commentators are sceptical of planning permits as they remain in force for five years, and don’t equate directly to building starts.  However, the further good news from today’s figures is that house completions are up 25%, commencements by an even more impressive 45% and registrations topping the lot with a 68% rise.

Our aim is to smooth the path

Our Economic Development Unit continues to work with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to attract the best of industry to Meath. When larger businesses plan on opening in Meath they very often have plans for large commercial developments. Some other figures that I was looking at yesterday suggested that Ireland is pretty similar in how long it takes to plan and develop industrial developments, so all large corporations expect, and plan for, such time lags. But it’s something Meath County Council tries to minimise.

 Don’t let this opportunity pass you by

Meath is ripe for development. We are very hopeful of seeing some more major industries coming to Meath attracted by its highly skilled local workforce and the abundance of space in which to construct business locations that can grow with that business. Our plans are to match those industrial developments with housing and for those developers who have been priced out of the Dublin market, I’m asking them to get in touch with our Economic Development Unit to see what opportunities await, right here in Meath, next door to Dublin.

Finally, which came first?

If we have the homes we’ll attract the industries. If we have the industries we’ll attract the house developers but as to which comes first, the hen or the egg, I’m aiming to confound the scientist by having both hen and egg at the same time.