Thursday, 9 March 1978
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Keating: asked the Minister for Economic Planning and Development with regard to the White Paper on National Development and with specific reference to housing policy, if he is committed to the healthy development of local authority housing programmes in the light of existing and future needs.
Mr. Keating: The Minister answered this question with a monosyllable, which is rather unique in that it took us all, including yourself, Sir, by surprise. In regard to the reference on page 43 of the White Paper—of which the Minister was the principal author—which says that the level of activity in the local authority housing programme will have to be subjected to continuous critical review, the reference to the local authorities being requested to examine the circumstances of housing applicants in more detail to determine priority needs and, finally, the reference to the expectation that there will be a reduction in the urgency with which those needs have to be met—do not these references, which are unique in the White Paper as applied to any particular area of expenditure, indicate a clearly discouraging view by the Government of the future of local authority housing and are they not in direct conflict with the monosyllable which the Minister uttered a moment ago?
Professor O'Donoghue: I do not agree that it is in direct conflict. The question asked me if I am committed to the healthy development of local authority housing programmes in the  light of existing and future needs. The answer is yes. I see nothing wrong with publishing a statement that of course we will review existing policies and continue to establish the extent to which they fully reflect up-to-date priorities, needs and so forth. Is the Deputy suggesting we should not?
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