December 16, 2020
Taoiseach must deliver on overdue affordable housing plan – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil today during leaders’ questions, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the Taoiseach to deliver on the government’s affordable housing plan that the Housing Minister had promised to publish in September of this year.

Teachta McDonald said:

“The lack of affordable and secure homes is the biggest problem facing our people for the past decade. We have a generation whose lives have been defined by the housing crisis. 

“When the Taoiseach took up office, he told us that his government would be the one that would sort out housing. That promise has fallen-flat. Rents remain sky-high, houses remain unaffordable and Council waiting lists still heave with applicants waiting for years. 

“At the sharpest end of the crisis, the number of people using homeless services has increased. The true level of those experiencing homelessness is at least 20% greater than official government figures show. 

“The Government’s lack of ambition was seen again this week when Minister O’Brien re-announced his cost rental plan which fell short of promises already made by Government for next year’s Budget.

“Government persists with its belief that €380,000 is affordable for a three-bedroom home. It is not enough just to build houses. It must build houses that people can really afford. The trouble is that the Taoiseach and his Minister doesn’t understand what is affordable for ordinary workers on average incomes.

“The direct spend on affordable housing by local authorities and approved housing bodies in 2021 will be a paltry €85 million. Meanwhile, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens will put one billion euro into the pockets of landlords by subsidising social housing tenants in the rental market.

“At the centre of the Government’s housing failures is the absence of its long-promised affordable housing plan.  Minister O’Brien first promised that the plan would be published in September. Then it was after the Budget. Then it was ‘sometime’ in Autumn. Now the Minister is saying that he will bring the plan to the government soon.

“This is not good enough. Where is the Government’s affordable housing plan?”

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