A property tycoon has warned Dublin does not have enough skilled construction workers to lift the country out of the housing crisis.
Developer Sean Mulryan has revealed 76,000 extra employees are needed for Government plans to meet the housing demand, especially in the capital.
The owner of the Ballymore Group told of his fears school leavers are not choosing trade apprenticeships because they are considered insecure.
He said: “Schoolkids need to be encouraged to consider trades as an alternative to often unsuitable university degrees or unemployment.
There were only 4,400 [trade]apprentices registered in 2015 and 1,500 so far in 2017.
“In comparison there were 23,700 apprentices in 2007.
“Many of these either emigrated or left the construction industry when the downturn came.
“Given that it takes on average four years to finish an apprenticeship, there is a chronic shortage.”
He added the wet trades – those using concrete, plaster and mortar – were particularly struggling to attract school leavers.
Safety Officer (Ireland) https://t.co/eMnOpXLqNj— Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) October 3, 2017
The property tycoon said the shortage could lead to a massive hike in labour costs and the sourcing of tradespeople from countries such as Latvia and Poland in the short term.
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He added: “Getting people trained up in the numbers needed to build 25,000 houses per annum is a slow process and, even if young people become apprentices in large numbers, the time lag in terms of them qualifying is a problem.
”Speaking to The Sunday Business Post, Mr Mulryan said Brexit could have a positive impact on the industry as EU workers might choose Irish jobs over English ones.
The developer claimed building height restrictions and foreign landowners driving up house prices were factors in the ongoing crisis.
He believes increasing height restrictions, especially in the Dublin area, and making more land available for development would ease the problem, adding: “This will bring down the price of land and if land is cheaper it will be one element in delivering houses that people can afford.”