September 1, 2021
Government housing proposals ‘not enough to rescue our failed housing system’ – Violet-Anne Wynne TD

Sinn Féin TD for Co. Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has expressed concerns over the much-delayed ‘Housing for All’ plan from government, which is due to be published on Thursday.

Teachta Wynne says:

“Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this housing strategy is going to deliver the real, radical change that’s needed to resolve the housing crisis in this state. The plan must include progressive policies in order to help end the crisis.

“The ambitious €12bn per-year investment plan seeks to bring 33,000 additional units into the housing market stock by 2025, however the age-old problem of the ‘devil in the detail’, or indeed in the lackof detail in this instance, persists.

“The Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) has reinforced Sinn Féin’s call for doubling capital investment to deliver far more than this undesignated 33,000 units by 2025 target, which is in fact laughable. 

“A report by property industry group Irish Institutional Property (IIP) calculated that the State will need to build almost 50,000 homes a year for the next 30 years if its housing stock is to reflect and meet the needs of the country’s changing demographics.

“Sinn Féin is calling for 20,000 units to be brought into the social housing stock per year specifically.

“The hype around this ‘Housing for All’ plan is pitting it as the ‘single biggest investment in housing delivery since the 1960s’.

“But if we rewind to 2016 when ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ was first announced, it also promised unprecedented investment – and at the end of its tenure, access to housing on the ground hasn’t substantially improved for the people of Ireland. 

“In Clare alone, there has been less than 1% of the total number of new social housing builds (59 of 7857) across the country over the past 5 year period (2016-2020).

“More and more families are falling through the cracks, and more and more investment funds continue to reap the rewards of a dysfunctional housing market.

“A recent article in the Irish Examiner stated that Clare has only 39 derelict properties, which if you live in Clare – is obviously a drastic underestimation. 

“Clare County Council have not mandated any derelict site levies despite the fact the figure 39 is way below the actual number of derelict properties in the region. 

“Other Local Authorities use this opportunity to generate capital for reinvestment, but Clare Co. Council have not designated a dedicated derelict site officer.

“Neither have they used a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in many towns in decline, including Tulla, Kilrush or Lisdoonvarna for example, for more than two years. 

“This suggests a change in funding from the Department of Housing which is restricting their capacity to provide the social housing needed in the county.

“All of this compounds the fact that the social housing waiting list in Clare hasn’t been dramatically reduced in years and the homeless figures keep on creeping up.

“I am eager to see the full details of the governments ‘Housing for All’ plan, but I suspect it will be more of the same – all bark and no bite.

“Sinn Féin has come up with realistic, practical ways to actually ensure that housing for all becomes a reality. The delivery of 33,000 new units between now and 2025 is simply not enough to meet the growing needs of the Irish population.

“We need to double annual capital investment in public housing from €1.4 to €2.8bn. delivering at least 20,000 social and affordable units per year; we need an immediate 3 year ban on rent increases; we need a vacant-homes officer in each county, a complete register, corresponding vacant home tax implementation and increased CPO powers by Local Authorities.”

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