The magnitude of the housing shortage and its impact on economic growth was conveyed to the Taoiseach during his visit to Cork Chamber today. The focus of the meeting, which was attended by industry representatives, some of the region’s largest employers as well as senior politicians including Minister Simon Coveney TD, was to identify solutions that would enable Cork to deliver housing for its growing population and employment base.“We held a very constructive meeting today with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, at which we brought together representatives from our diverse membership, who shared their experiences. Cork is in a very positive place but to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth, areas such as housing, infrastructure and public transport need continued collective investment and focus,” said Ronan Murray, Cork Chamber President. “We welcome the Government’s support to date in these areas, and following today’s meeting we are hopeful further necessary supports will be put in place to increase housing supply,” he added. Commenting after the meeting, Conor Healy CEO of Cork Chamber said: “An Taoiseach’s engagement today is very important for the region as housing remains the number one priority for businesses as an economic enabler. Viability of apartment construction has been highlighted in our reports as a key barrier to economic growth and today we again called on Government to consider targeted and time-bound tax-based measures including accelerated capital allowances and VAT reductions to make high density and brownfield development viable in line with international best practice.” “Previous steps by government are welcome but we need to see a step change, and quickly, in order to relieve some of the pressure in the market. Today we also highlighted the need to increase the income threshold for the cost-rental scheme to allow more people to access it. In addition, we have asked government to revisit the qualifying criteria for the Croí Cónaithe Cities scheme, specifically to remove the 100% owner occupier condition to encourage investment and increase rental availability.” The acceleration of the timeline for delivery of Cork Light Rail was also raised with the Taoiseach. “FDI and talent attraction are dependent on an efficient high functioning city, in order to achieve this we have to aim to provide the same offering as other major European cities,” said Conor Healy. “There is potential to accelerate the delivery timeline of Cork Light Rail and this will also prove crucial in meeting our climate targets. We spoke to the Taoiseach about the necessity to shorten the current projected timelines for the project.” Other items on the agenda at today’s meeting included energy security and renewables deployment, and Cork’s climate neutral journey to 2030.