PAI’s Social Housing & State-Owned Lands Conference

PAI’s State Lands and Social Housing Conference ensures that our clients are kept up to date on the latest insights, trends, and solutions for public sector professionals across the Irish Housing and State Owned Lands Sector for the year ahead.

Public Affairs Ireland’s State Lands and Social Housing Conference took place on Wednesday, the 25th of May via the institution’s Virtual Classroom Platform.

This year focused on Standardising the Approach, Mapping the Objectives and Delivering on the Strategy for Government.

With housing hitting headlines daily and the housing crises in emergency status, PAI placed a spotlight the progress made to date and assess how housing policy measures up on the course to achieve targets for government. Through our industry expert speakers, our conference provides an in-depth analysis of the key driving forces and current affairs impacting on strategies, policies and programmes within.

Over 70 attendees from 43 organisations including Government Departments, Local Authorities, Approved Housing Bodies, planning departments, boards of governance, legal advisors, procurement, and policy officers directly involved in the management, development or disposal of public real property and their advisors joined the conference on the day.

Take a look at our 2022 conference below:

“We need well built, sustainable housing suitable for all. Housing for All Strategy is the most ambitious housing plan since the history of the State. The aim is for everyone’s housing needs, whether it be social housing, or privately owned homes to be counted for.”

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD

PAI were delighted to welcome Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD as keynote speaker for this event. The Minister expanded on Conference Chair, Jim Power’s opening address, laying down the cultural and economic context of the topics that were to be discussed throughout the date. 

The Minister’s address was followed by a Q&A session, where questions regarding change in Government, amenities that would be needed such as education to keep up with new homes being built were posed.


The Minister was followed by a presentation by Mark Varian and Peter Curran, Partners from Eversheds Sutherland 

The pair discussed construction inflation. Mark Varian commenced the presentation, which detailed the Contractual and Constructional issues that are faced within the Housing and Lands Sector.

Mark Varian detailed how the issues with Brexit, Covid, the War in Ukraine, inflation in the USA, and new lockdowns in China have created huge spikes in construction inflation and supply chain demand.

The presentation detailed that the long period of low inflation is now over, and that now it is essential to manage volatility when it comes to price inflation and supply chain delays.

He discussed how to navigate both existing contracts and the creation of new contracts, and noted that the period of time that pricing that construction firms can offer is growing shorter and shorter, which poses difficulties in the creation of fixed term contracts.

The presentation was then handed over to Peter Curran who detailed the Procurement Issues faced by construction inflation. 

Peter discussed how contractual mechanisms can be incorporated into the contract safely under public procurement rules. He detailed how future tenders, current tenders and even current contracts can incorporate contractual mechanisms to help reduce unexpected inflation costs.


Dearbhla Lawson from the Land Development Agency then delivered her presentation. Dearbhla discussed the primary focus of The State Lands Development Agency (LDA): Affordable and Social Homes.

The Home Building Partnership (Project Tosaigh) was also discussed, which aims to deliver a mix of cost rental and affordable purchase aimed at mid-market level individuals.

There was also a detailed discussion on the optimisation of relevant public lands, and the LDAs short and long term delivery focus.

The presentation touched on developing the register for these projects, obligations and reporting.

The presentation was then followed by a Q&A session and coffee break. Breakout rooms were established for networking purposes, and attendees were highly engaged in discussion regarding previous presentations.


The second session of the day began with Fiona Dunkin, Policy Manager from Cluid Housing. Her presentation provided an overview of and amendments to Part V of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2020 based on Cluid Housing’s Report: Planning Gain and Obligations: Promise and Performance of Part V

It was noted that the report stated that AHBs have the concluded opinion that they need to have more involvement earlier in the development process, and that policy can sometimes cause obstacles in Local Authorities working AHBs that they have close working relationship with.

Michelle Robinson from Dublin City Council continued the discussion of Part V from the viewpoint of Local Authorities. Her presentation explained how Dublin City Council work with AHBs to provide Social Housing and create sustainable communities.

Michelle gave an insight into her experience of working through the Part V process as Housing Manager in Dublin City Council. She discussed shared challenges that Local Authorities and AHBs face, and looking to the future plans to collaborate between Dublin City Council and AHBs.

The final speaker of the day was Brendan O’Sullivan, Chartered Town Planner and Director of the UCC Centre for Planning Education & Research. Brendan’s presentation discussed the complexity of planning and the effort that multiple sectors need to make to optimise state lands and develop social housing.

Brendan’s presentation detailed how good, well thought out planning decisions are better than fast ones. He explained and provided context to the importance of planning when it comes to the development of delivering housing on State owned lands, and that the housing sector should think about developing homes and communities rather than just units and shelter to individuals.