Following Tuesday’s RTE Prime Time investigation into the appalling conditions in which tenants at Teresa’s Mansions and Dolphin House in Dublin are obliged to live (available here – from minute 17 and see further here and here), attention has turned once again to the issue of NAMA’s ‘social dividend’, and to the possibility that the so-called ‘ghost estates’ can be used to meet social housing needs (see Focus Ireland’s 2009 briefing here). One of the purposes set out in the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 is ‘to contribute to the social and economic development of the State’. In a tense Leaders’ Questions on Wednesday, Mary Lou McDonald TD asked the Taoiseach whether ’some of the housing stock currently in NAMA [could] be given to not-for-profit housing associations to relieve the [social housing] waiting lists?’ The Taoiseach replied that he expected that there would be a social dividend from NAMA, and that the responsible Minister of State, Willie Penrose TD, would report on the matter soon (for more details on the proposals being investigated by the Minister of State see here and for a summary of the new government’s housing policy see the excellent ‘Ireland after NAMA’ blog here.) The social dividend issue is especially pressing given Minister Penrose’s insistence that ‘the days of large capital budgets for new-build local authority housing estates are gone‘. We look forward to the Minister’s report.