Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD has appointed John O’Connor as chair designate of the Commission on Housing, which will be established later this year. 

O'Connor was previously CEO of the Affordable Homes Partnership, from 2005-2012, and before that he was executive manager at Dublin City Council, from 2001-2005. He graduated with a civil engineering degree from University College Dublin, and also holds a master's degree in structural engineering from the same university.

Minister O’Brien also thanked O’Connor, who is due to retire shortly from his current position as chief executive officer of the Housing Agency, for his service to the agency.

John O' Connor, chief executive officer, the Housing Agency, and chair designate of Commission on Housing

The Commission on Housing will be formally established in September 2021, once the terms of reference and membership of the commission have been finalised. The terms of reference will be drafted in consultation with the chair designate, having regard to the Programme for Government and the priorities due to be set out in the new 'housing for all' plan.

'One of most knowledgeable and experienced people in Irish housing sector'

Minister O’Brien said: “Mr O’Connor is widely considered to be one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the Irish housing sector. He is a highly effective and innovative leader in public service with a proven capacity to bring all of the stakeholders in the housing sector together. I am delighted to appoint him as chair.

“The establishment of a Commission on Housing was a commitment in the Programme for Government and I am very glad we are progressing this now. We do need to take a more strategic view on all aspects of housing and deal with the fundamental challenges which exist.

“We’ve seen strategies and approaches change from government to government in the past. I believe the commission, which will bring together experts from various sectors, will take a transgovernmental and enduring approach to our current housing crisis.

“Importantly, it will be time bound with a reporting requirement which will help it to achieve its objectives. Mr O’Connor’s vast housing experience, leadership qualities and innovative thinking, coupled with his collaborative and practical approach will be put to good use in his new role as chair of the Commission on Housing.” 

Pivotal role

Commission on Housing chair O'Connor added: “I am honoured to have been chosen by government to chair the Commission on Housing. The commission can play a pivotal role in the housing system in Ireland and in particular the aim of achieving quality, affordable homes for all. We need to build homes and communities as an integral part of a more sustainable society.

As chair, I intend to work with all other members of the commission in a collaborative and pragmatic approach to gain a common understanding of how we deliver the homes that are needed.

"It is vital that we make use of the experience and knowledge available to us and apply it for the benefit of everyone in our society. I have experience working with a range of interest groups, with a focus on finding solutions and delivering results. I look forward to the establishment of the commission and dedicating myself to this critical task.”