Fianna Fáil housing plan falls short of what’s needed

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Labour Party Housing spokesperson Jan O'Sullivan

INSUFFICIENT, inefficient and unsustainable is how a Limerick TD has described the latest plans to ease the housing crisis. 

Speaking in response to Fianna Fáil’s proposal for a €200 million plan for affordable housing and their claim this would provide 4000 homes, Labour Party spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan argued that the Fianna Fáil proposals fall far short of what’s needed. 

Deputy O’Sullivan said: “Fianna Fáil are asking the Government to spend an additional €200 million in Budget 2019 on affordable housing, which is a clear signal that they are not taking the housing crisis seriously. With more than 100,000 households on housing waiting lists and even greater numbers facing rents they cannot afford, the volume of housing needed is in the tens of thousands per annum.

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“That is why Labour has proposed spending €16 billion over five years, in a project of State-led development of 80,000 plus homes. We have at least €5 billion in the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund that can be allocated to house-building now if the Government so chooses. As college professors have argued, the Government simply needs to get on with it.

And Deputy O’Sullivan criticised the plan of operation, saying that it would only benefit the few.

“Fianna Fáil’s plan seems to be to make housing affordable by giving for-profit developers €50,000 per home to make them more affordable for buyers and also giving public land away for free. Who will choose the lucky ones who get this subsidy? This is economically inefficient as such largesse will not be available for all those who need housing.

“Labour would cut out the for-profit developer by having a new National Housing Development Bank act as a non-profit agency to commission builders to supply much-needed homes. We would keep public land in public ownership, but create rent-to-buy and tenant-purchase schemes that give people a realistic pathway to paying for home ownership if they so desire.

“Once Fianna Fáil give away public land, how will they house the next generation?

That’s simply unsustainable,” Deputy O’Sullivan concluded.