Minister for Housing, Planning and Construction Paudie Coffey T.D.,has welcomed the figures released by the CSO which show a significant increase in employment in the construction sector. Last year the government published the Construction 2020 strategy, one of the key actions in that strategy was the addition of 60,000 jobs in the sector by 2020 and to increase housing supply to meet demand; in its first year 19,600 jobs have been created in the sector.
“The construction sector suffered a massive decline when the economy collapsed in 2008.  The sector at that time was over-heated, it was employing 280,000 people, delivering 90,000 housing units a year and was contributing almost 25% of Ireland’s GNP.  By 2012, the numbers employed had reduced to less than 100,000, the number of housing units had fallen to below 8,000 and the sector was contributing 6.5% of Ireland’s GNP.
“A healthy economy must have a vibrant construction sector, and we are making progress with the continued delivery of the Construction 2020 Strategy.  In the last year we have seen employment grow by almost 20,000 to 126,000 people.  The number of houses being built is increasing and the number of commencement notices for construction of houses has more than doubled when compared to 2014.  The number of planning permissions in the first quarter of 2015 has increased by 97% when compared to the same period in 2014.
Minister Coffey said; “As the Minister responsible for the sector I am pleased with the recent data that has been released; the sector is showing signs of making a strong and sustainable recovery.  The Construction 2020 Strategy is progressing well and actions are being delivered all of the time across the whole of government.
“The construction sector is a vital part of the economy right across Ireland as it has the potential to deliver jobs in every town and village.  I am confident  that the sector has the potential for strong growth over the coming period and we need to have a healthy construction sector in our economy to help drive economic growth and boost employment further.  We must have a sustainable construction sector but we must guard against returning to the boom and bust model that failed the Irish people in the past.”
Minister Coffey concluded by saying; “I will continue to work to deliver the Construction 2020 Strategy in a timely fashion across government and with all stakeholders in the sector to ensure that we return the sector to playing a meaningful role in our overall economic model.”