May 8, 2024
Housing is the defining issue of our time 

Housing is the defining issue of our time 

By Chris MacManus

I grew up in the 1970´s and 80s in Sligo. We were fortunate that my parents could afford a home for us to live in, on their modest incomes. This offered us security. A place to call our own. A place to call home. 

Forty years on, thousands of children growing up in 2024 do not have the same sense of security or home. There are over 4,000 homeless children in Ireland. This did not happen overnight. This is the result of failed government policy. 

A century on from its foundation this State, we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. One child without a home is shameful. The fact that thousands are without a home tells us we have failed our youth. To have such a shocking level of homelessness in a wealthy country is a political choice, not an accident. This must change.   

We need to look at the type of society young people are growing up in and entering as adults. Unfortunately, due to government policy, that society is deeply unfair. The Irish state refuses to use its resources to solve issues like childcare and health issues. Instead, it farms out as much as it can to private agencies. 

This is especially damaging in housing. Younger couples can now both be working in well-paid jobs and still not be able to afford a home for their young family, stuck renting at sky-high prices, unable to gather the finances for a mortgage –  and that’s before mentioning childcare costs. 

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael & the EU have embraced vulture funds to the detriment of ordinary people. This means that young families and single people simply cannot compete with billion-dollar funds buying up what few  homes there are. It is deeply unfair. Young people deserve a society where a home is affordable. That is something that can be delivered with the right policies

We live in a time of crisis. We must act accordingly. The delivery of housing must be our number one priority. 

If we are serious about tackling the housing and homelessness crises, the Irish Government must reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions. This would allow us to create the space for an emergency response to the crisis. 

We also need a package of measures to reduce the number of people becoming homeless in Ireland. We need to stop vulture and cuckoo funds evicting families or buying up the housing stock from under the noses of workers and families. We need EU rules that do not punish investment in public housing.

Ultimately, what we need is change. On June 7, you have the opportunity to vote for change. You can help make this change happen by voting Sinn Féin in the Local and European Elections. 

Vote for change and let’s put workers and families first. 

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