THERE has been another drastic slump in the number of new homes and extensions being approved countrywide.
The number of planning permissions granted for new homes has fallen by 61pc this year, with just 5,510 approvals in the first quarter compared to 14,177 for the same period of last year.
The number of houses receiving the green light fell by 65pc to 3,585, and 28pc of these were for one-off homes, compared to 19pc in the same period of 2009, new figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal.
The number of apartments given approval fell by a more modest 51pc to 1,925 units.
The planning department in Waterford city is having a particularly quiet time, with just two new homes approved, while in Limerick city there were just three given planning permission.
And house extensions are also on the wane nationwide, with 1,617 permissions granted in the period compared to 2,499 in the same period of 2009.
The official figures show that demand for planning permission peaked in early 2007, when almost 24,000 new homes were approved in just three months -- a drop of 77pc overall.
When commercial, government and farm buildings are included, the number of planning permissions granted has fallen by almost 40pc to 4,519.
Some 140,000 jobs have been lost in the building industry since 2007 and the Construction Industry Federation and trade unions this week called on the Government to go ahead with more infrastructure projects to stop further job losses.
They say that less than 10,000 homes will be built in Ireland this year putting Ireland at the bottom of the European construction chart.