Minister Finneran addresses Confederation of European Real Estate Agents Conference in Dublin CastlePress release May 22, 2009 Politics
Mr Michael Finneran, T.D., Minister for Housing and Local Services today (22nd May, 2009 ) in Dublin Castle opened an international conference of real estate agents hosted by the Confederation of European Real Estate Agents in conjunction with its affiliated Irish body the IPAV.
The Confederation represents 66,000 practitioners in 13 European countries and its conference considered the twin themes of the current economic prospects for property markets in Europe and the growing focus on energy efficiency in buildings.
In his opening address Minister Finneran noted that *most OECD countries are experiencing a significant housing market downturn that is exacerbated by the general economic woes affecting the world economy.* In Ireland's case, the Minister referred to the two year downward trajectory of all the main housing market indicators, from prices to commencements and registrations, and expressed the view that *as long as wider economic sentiment remains weak, it is difficult to see a radical reversal in sentiment towards the housing market.* He continued saying that the Government recognises the importance of easing the flow of credit to households and businesses and *has taken bold steps in this regard, from the bank guarantee scheme announced in September, to the recapitalisation of Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank through to the decision to establish the National Assets Management Agency which will take on and manage the riskiest banking sector loans, at an appropriate price, in order to enable the banking sector to recover and return to lending to business, entrepreneurs and homeowners.*
Noting that Energy Efficiency and the Green Economy are increasingly being seen as pathways to economic recovery in Europe and at home, as demonstrated in the Government*s Building Ireland*s Smart Economy framework for recovery published last December he said: "In today's economic environment, where increased productivity and tighter business margins are the order of the day, I believe that energy efficiency is a concept whose time has come."
Referring to the fact that over 31,000 homes and almost 700 commercial buildings have been energy rated to date in Ireland under the Building Energy Rating (BER) scheme introduced in recent years, he believes this represents significant early progress on implementation of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
Outlining the Government's strong commitment to improving the comfort and quality of life of homeowners while increasing the energy efficiency of Ireland*s existing building stock he outlined a range of initiatives currently underway including, in his own area of responsibility, a comprehensive national programme for the *greening* of the social housing stock for which some 50 million has been set aside in 2009 for projects such as improving insulation, upgrading central heating systems, developing low carbon demonstration models for social housing. These activities dovetail with other Government interventions aimed at improving energy efficiency including for instance, grants for retrofitting insulation in private housing under the Home Energy Saving Scheme, and grants and planning exemptions for the application of renewable energy technologies in existing dwellings and in commercial, industrial and agricultural settings.