(Bloomberg) -- The Irish government moved to reassure US multinationals that the country can address its chronic housing shortage, after American firms identified it as the biggest obstacle to further investment in the country.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told an American Chamber of Commerce Ireland Global Business conference that tackling the housing crisis was the government’s top priority. He claimed that the plan for doing so was the “single biggest intervention that any government or any state” had made in the housing sector, without elaborating on how that was the case.

“For you it’s the number one issue to make sure that the people working with you know that they can actually access the housing that they need,” O’Brien said.

A survey of companies released by the lobby group to coincide with the event put housing at the top of the list of challenges they face when considering expansion in Ireland.

Irish Housing Crisis Adds to Stress for Firms Recruiting Abroad

The government has set a target of 33,000 new homes being delivered each year under its Housing for All plan launched in 2021, including 29,000 this year.

Earlier on Wednesday, the ruling coalition won a confidence motion by 86 votes to 67. The vote had been triggered by a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition Labour Party following a government decision to lift the country’s temporary no-fault eviction ban from April 1.

Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney also addressed the conference remotely after an in-person appearance had to be delayed due to the vote. He later traveled to speak to the attendees over lunch, highlighting the government’s eagerness to protect Ireland’s critical trade and business links with the US and assuage concerns over the shortage of affordable homes.

He too described the housing challenge as the government’s biggest priority.

In 2022, there were 167 new investment announcements from US multinationals in Ireland, accounting for 69% of all such new inflows into the country, according to the American Chamber. US companies spend €31 billion in the Irish economy annually, its figures show.

Ireland has a “real challenge” in the provision of affordable, quality housing, the chamber’s chief executive officer, Mark Redmond, said. 

“What we’re saying to the government really clearly is: we’ve got to be able to demonstrate to corporates that there’s delivery and execution of this strategy,” he said in an interview.

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