Supreme Court decision clears the way for government affordable housing scheme.

President Mary McAleese referred the 1999 Planning and Development Bill to the Supreme Court, having consulted with the Council of State. Chief Justice Ronan Keane said the purpose of the scheme is to facilitate the purchase of houses by those who otherwise could not afford them, and that any rights are outweighed by the greater social good.

Local authorities now can buy up to twenty per cent of land zoned for housing from landowners at agricultural prices. It also means a developer building a new scheme could be asked to transfer up to twenty per cent of the units for affordable housing.

Ciaran Ryan of the Irish Home Builders Association does not believe the scheme will work,

The impact will be to actually reduce the potential to deliver to the private sector.

Auctioneers have also claimed that the scheme will increase house prices. Kieran Murphy from Threshold, the national charity that provides advice and support for people with housing problems, welcomes the Supreme Court's judgement,

It's a central plank of government policy...we're now talking about its implementation.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 August 2000. The reporter is Carole Coleman.