Special Report 65: Water Services and Affordable Housing Delivery - Press Release

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Dublin Castle, 24 July 2009

Press Release

Water Services (Drinking Water Provision) and Affordable Housing Delivery

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr John Buckley, has today (24 July 2009) published a report arising from examinations of

  • The mechanisms in place to evaluate the safety of Water Services, and
  • The arrangements for delivery of Affordable Housing.

Water Services (Drinking Water Provision)

Expenditure on the provision of drinking water by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government over the years 2002 ? 2007 amounted to ?869 million. Notwithstanding this investment, EPA annual reports for the period 2004 ? 2007 showed little significant improvement in drinking water quality.

There was considerable legislative strengthening of the EPA mandate from March 2007 onwards which has resulted in an increased emphasis on monitoring and control procedures at local authority level and the compilation of a national remedial action list of 339 public water supplies. It is reasonable to expect that the impact of this remedial programme will be reflected in a significant improvement in the measured compliance standards for public supplies.

Affordable Housing Delivery

The social partnership agreement, Sustaining Progress 2003 - 2005, included a measure called the Affordable Housing Initiative under which the government established the Affordable Homes Partnership (AHP) in 2005 to coordinate the delivery of affordable homes in the Greater Dublin Area. The examination reviewed overall target achievement under the Initiative and the contribution of the AHP to the affordable homes drive.

During the period 2005 ? 2008, 85% of the affordable homes target was achieved. 

Due to the current market conditions, there has been a significant build-up in the stock of unsold affordable housing units held by local authorities.

Overall, the examination concluded that the AHP has been a flexible instrument in helping the State adjust affordable housing policy in line with market conditions since 2005. However, in the light of the changed housing market, it now appears necessary to review it?s rationale.

Notes for Editors

The Comptroller and Auditor General is an independent constitutional officer with responsibility for the audit of public funds.  He reports to Dáil ?reann.

The full text of the report is available on the website of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (go to www.audgen.gov.ie).

For further information about the report, please contact Mr Fergus Glavey at (01) 6031021 or at fergus_glavey@audgen.irlgov.ie