Less spin and more housing


MANY working families in Limerick are now unable to secure a home.

That’s according to Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan who has criticised the government’s “empty rhetoric” on the housing crisis.

“Rents across Limerick are soaring with a three-bedroom house listed this week in Dooradolye for more that €1,500 a month. Young couples are forced to rent privately and then therefore unable to save for a deposit to obtain a mortgage. This is causing a huge crisis. Others simply can’t afford to rent at these prices,” Deputy Quinlivan explained.

The CSO (Central Statistics Office) this week reported that over 35 per cent of all those in employment are earning €400 gross per week or less.

“These people who are working cannot afford to rent privately and are caught in a huge limbo. They can neither rent or buy. The supply of houses is very restricted and despite the government spin it worsens almost on a daily basis,” Quinlivan claims.

The Limerick TD is also of the view that ending the housing crisis demands real investment in social and affordable housing not “hollow spin”.

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“It needs delivery. The solutions to the housing crisis were outlined in a cross party Dáil Housing and Homeless Committee Report last July. We need an increase in social housing stock of 10,000 units a year. We need real action to tackle home repossessions and spiralling rents to reduce the flow of families into homelessness. We need Government-led affordable purchase and rental housing and we need to reduce the cost of providing private homes to increase affordability,” he said.

Labour Housing spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan also sees housing as one of the big issues of our time.

“While there has been much goodwill towards the Minister for Housing’s ‘Rebuilding Ireland Plan’, it’s becoming more evident that it is not delivering the homes that are so urgently needed. With 200,000 empty homes around the country, that’s 27 empty homes for every person in emergency accommodation, the promised Vacant Housing Re-Use Strategy hasn’t yet got off the ground,” Deputy O’Sullivan told the Limerick Post.

“Even in the worst of economic times, Labour provided the funding to bring 5,000 empty Council homes back into use. Unused houses should be the first, easiest win. But we need construction too.

One of the first Bills the Labour Party put before the current Dáil proposed to implement the Kenny Report to make land available to Local Authorities at reasonable prices to stop land-hoarding. As demand exceeds supply, developers sit on land to make more money, while prices go up and more people are stuck paying spiralling rents.

“This is not an intractable problem. There are way above the average number of unused existing houses, there is land to build on, there is money available to the State now. What is needed is effective policy and we are not seeing that from Government,” she concluded.

 by Alan Jacques

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