The Central Bank has approved a new fund that will facilitate credit unions to get involved in the delivery of social and affordable housing around the country.
The Credit Union Approved Housing Body Fund will oversee up to €800 million investment in social and affordable homes with an initial €200 million being deployed over the next 12 months.
It's expected that will facilitate the delivery of in excess of 1,000 social housing homes.
The Fund has been established with backing of four Dublin-based credit unions - Core, Dubco, Heritage and Progressive, but is open to all credit unions throughout the country to invest in.
The move is viewed as an important step towards ramping up up the delivery of homes in the social housing sector.
It's also seen as an opportunity for credit unions to exploit alternative investment options in an era of negative interest rates.
"The Government has committed to providing 90,000 social housing units by 2030 and this will require innovative financing and housing solutions," Brian Murphy, Chairman of the Credit Union AHB Fund said.
"Deploying some of the enormous Credit Union surplus liquidity is one such solution and a new source of housing finance."
The development was also welcomed by the Minister of State for Finance, Seán Fleming, who said the facilitation of large scale social housing projects had been a personal priority since he became Minister.
"This new Fund will help support the delivery of our Housing for All Action Plan, which is the largest State led building programme in Ireland's history," he said.
Last summer, members of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA) launched plans for a social and affordable housing fund backed by up to 50 of its member credit unions.