January 20, 2020
Sinn Féin will deliver the largest public housing building programme in the history of the State

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Housing Manifesto this morning, Dublin Mid-West general election candidate Eoin Ó Broin has said that ‘in government, Sinn Féin will deliver the largest public housing building programme in the history of the State’.

He also said that ‘a Sinn Féin Minister for Housing will introduce an emergency three year rent reduction and rent freeze.’

He said:

“Fine Gael have been in government for nine years.

“Their record on housing speaks for itself:

  • Adult homelessness is up 79% to 6,696;
  • Child homelessness is up 476% to 3,752;
  • Real social housing need is up 21% to 139,320 households;
  • Rents are up 66% across the State and 85% in Dublin;
  • State-wide new rents are €5,904 more per year than in 2011 and €9,720 more in Dublin;
  • House prices up are 18% across the State and 46% in Dublin,
  • State-wide asking prices are €38,000 more than in 2011 and €112,000 more in Dublin.

“More and more people are unable to access secure and affordable housing.

“In 2016, the current government launched their flagship housing policy ‘Rebuilding Ireland’.

“They promised to fix our broken housing system.

“Instead they have made things worse, with rents and levels of homelessness spiralling ever higher.

“Social housing delivery remains glacial while overall supply lags far behind the promised 25,000 new homes per year.

“The result of this is thousands of children spending their formative years living in hotels and family HUBs.

“Tens of thousands of families are languishing on Council housing waiting lists for a decade or more.

“Tens of thousands of renters are paying up to 40% – and in some cases 50% – of their income on accommodation.

“An entire generation of young people are locked out of every owning their own home.

“All of this has happened because for three decades – first Fianna Fáil and then Fine Gael – have followed the same set of bad housing policies.

“They under invested in public housing.

“They over relied on the private sector to meet social and affordable housing need.

“They failed to protect renters from the volatility of the market.

“And they saddled working people with unsustainable levels of debt.

“Together they have created a housing system that forces hundreds of thousands of people into insecure and expensive accommodation.

“Sinn Féin wants to change all of that.

“We want to be in government to break with the failed policies of the past and implement a completely new approach to housing.

“And that is why I am committing here today that Sinn Féin will deliver the largest public housing building programme in the history of the State.

“Over the lifetime of a government we would:

  • Deliver 100,000 public homes on public land; including 60,000 social homes, 30,000 affordable purchase homes and 10,000 affordable rental homes
  • Affordable purchase homes would be available at, and below €250,000
  • Affordable rental homes would be available at, and below €900 per month
  • Eligibility for affordable housing would be set at €50,000 for a single person and €75,000 for a couple.

“We would take 60,000 families off Council house waiting lists, give 30,000 first time buyers genuinely affordable homes and start to build up a stock of affordable cost rental accommodation.

“A Sinn Féin Minister for Housing would also take emergency action to address the rental crisis by reducing rents by up to €1,500 a year with a refundable tax credit, alongside introducing a three year freeze on all existing and new rents.

“This would be accompanied by increasing the stock of affordable rental accommodation and reducing the State’s reliance on subsidised private rental accommodation to meet social need.

“Our Housing Manifesto is fully costed and can be delivered without additional government borrowing, or additional taxes on workers earning less than €100,000 per year – the detail of which will be outlined by our spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty later in the campaign.

“Other key policies being launched today include:

  • A referendum to enshrine the right to housing into the Constitution.
  • A target date for ending long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough.
  • A comprehensive package of social housing reform.
  • A comprehensive package of private rental sector reform.
  • A plan to tackle land hoarding with an increase in the vacant site levy and an Active Land Management Agency.
  • A series of planning reforms to undo the damage of recent Ministers for Housing.
  • A latent defects redress scheme for owners of defective Celtic Tiger era homes.
  • A comprehensive reform of our building control and fire safety systems.
  • Higher energy efficiency standards for all new homes with effective monitoring and enforcement.

“General election 2020 offers a clear choice.

“Do voters want to continue with the failed housing policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael?

“Or do they want a change of policy that will deliver secure and affordable homes for the many, not just the few?

“This election is also about who the public want to be the next Minister for Housing.

“Do they want Eoghan Murphy? Whose stand out achievements are record levels of homelessness, sky high rents and house prices, and ever rising social housing need.

“Do they want Darragh O’Brien, who has facilitated Fine Gael’s failed housing policy and Fine Gael’s Minister by repeatedly abstaining on budgets and votes of no-confidence?

“Or do they want a Minister with the vision, solutions and commitment to transform our housing system for the benefit of all?

“I believe I can be that Minister and if you agree – then vote Sinn Féin on 8th February.”

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