Monday, May 20, 2024

Collison brothers back new think tank to tackle Ireland’s housing crisis

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The group, which will bring together some of Ireland’s bright young entrepreneurs, will launch this autumn.

The philanthropic initiative called ‘Progress Ireland’ will bring together some of Ireland’s brightest young entrepreneurs with the goal of making Ireland a better place to live.

Although sources close to the project are keeping tight-lipped on the progress being made behind the scenes, The Sunday Independent has learned that it will launch this autumn.

Speaking to the newspaper this weekend a well-placed source said the “very high level mission” will see a group of successful entrepreneurs and academics “conduct research on public policy in Ireland.”

A separate source said “this is exactly what Ireland needs right now. It couldn’t come at a better time. The Collison brothers have previously expressed their frustration at the slow pace of progress here so I’m not surprised they are involved in this.”

Last August, one half of the billionaire brothers, John Collison, spoke out about his frustration with how Ireland works. The Stripe co-founder slammed the “red tape” and “ecological paperwork” that has been inhibiting Ireland’s planning system.

The Limerick born tech billionaire posted on X: “Has anyone ever surveyed Irish people on whether they actually want all the red tape and ecological paperwork that prevent housing, energy infrastructure, transit and other important works from being built?”

He has also been critical of the slow level of housing construction in Ireland.

In 2022, in an interview with the Sunday Independent, he also questioned the nature of Ireland’s housing delays, which has emerged as one of the country’s biggest social and political problems of the last decade. “Why is it so hard to build new housing in Ireland? We clearly need to have a bunch more of it. Why can’t we build up?” he asked.

“I think we need to do something about it. Any solution that isn’t building more housing is essentially saying to some set of people who want to live in Dublin that they don’t get to live there, which is kind of a dissatisfying answer.”

Mr Collison has also been critical of the time it can take to process an application in Ireland’s work visa system. The problem disproportionately affects high-tech companies who are seeking to recruit experienced, in-demand engineers form abroad.

“Why can’t it just take a week?” he asked in the same interview. “When you get your passport renewed here, it’s brilliant, really quick and efficient. Can we get those people who do the passport renewal system around the visa system.”

It is understood the project will be led by Sean Keyes, former finance correspondent at The Currency, who is expected to become CEO. He has an M.A in Economics from University College Dublin (UCD) and a B.A in Economics and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

Irish company records show that a company by the name ‘Sslf Progress Ireland’ was set up on 18th December last year. The company directors are named as Luke Fehily, Sean O’Neill McPartlin and Sean Keyes. Mr O’ Neill McPartlin is the co-founder of the Better Planning Alliance, an organization which researches innovative policy solutions in the housing sector.

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