Labour would build one million homes in 10 years

Labour Party Councillor Conor Sheehan

LABOUR councillor Conor Sheehan has called on Government to scale up its ambition for tackling the housing crisis.

Speaking following the Labour Party’s 72nd National Conference in Cork, Cllr Sheehan said Labour has a plan to deliver on Housing for All by delivering one million homes in 10 years.

“This Government has consistently failed the people of Limerick through its lack of delivery on housing,” he told the Limerick Post.

“Nowhere is this more evident than in its indefensible decision to lift the eviction ban, putting thousands of vulnerable renters at risk of homelessness, while the LDA (Land Development Agency) sit on swathes of state-owned land near Colbert Station while the numbers of entering homelessness climb to an all time high.

“We know that supply is the key issue causing challenges in the housing market. This must be addressed with ambition to deliver and deliver fast for renters and young people.”

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According to the City North representative, we now need a 10-year plan to deliver 1,000,000 homes.

“Each year for ten years we must build 50,000 new houses and retrofit 50,000 derelict, vacant, unaffordable, or unliveable dwellings. This could have a huge impact on taking the heat out of the housing crisis in Limerick.”

This ambitious target, he believes, is necessary if the Government is to truly put an end to the housing crisis in Limerick.

“In the Government’s Housing for All plan, it states that 33,000 houses a year must be built to meet the needs of the country. Yet that figure is more likely in the region of 50-60,000 homes a year to meet our growing population.

In January, 11,754 people were in in state-funded emergency accommodation. This figure does not include people sleeping rough, people couch surfing, homeless people in hospitals and prisons, those in Direct Provision Centres, and homeless households in Domestic Violence Refuges.

Cllr Sheehan is also of the view that after 18 months, the Housing for All plan is failing the people of Limerick. A younger generation, he says, are caught in a cycle of ever-rising rent and house prices, with rents often consuming nearly half their wages.

“The failure to tackle insecure continues to add to the ever-rising level of homelessness. Without homes to buy, people are trapped in the rental market, unable to save for a mortgage, and taking up rented property which might have gone to someone else.

The State must step-in to build more affordable homes, and more public homes on public land,” he concluded.