Rental crisis a ‘ticking time bomb’ for old and young in Limerick

Labour Party Councillor Conor Sheehan

LABOUR councillor Conor Sheehan said the recent Threshold report, which shows that 40 per cent of elderly people renting in the private market now expect to rent for the rest of their lives, highlights the hardening of inequality through Government’s failures in housing policy.

The report, Double Deficit: Older and Ageing Persons in the Irish Private Rental Sector, he maintains, highlights the struggles of older people ignored by society and the State.

Our entire housing and pension system has relied on the assumption that people over 65 will be homeowners, who have paid off their mortgages and are not paying rent,” Cllr Sheehan told the Limerick Post.

The non-contributory state pension sits at a meagre €13,000 a year. Even with HAP payments, how could Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil expect anyone in Limerick to pay for private rental accommodation – or a mortgage – on that income?” he asks.

Cllr Sheehan pointed out that the Irish population is ageing rapidly. He is of the view that with the chronic housing shortage, many generations are locked out of home ownership and will need a much more sophisticated pension system to cope with the rising cost of housing.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“This is the ticking time bomb of the housing crisis,” he warned.

I’m increasingly hearing from people in their forties and fifties in Limerick who are still renting long after they thought they would be able to buy, and people in their twenties and thirties who do not see any prospect of ever being able to buy their own home.

“The Minister for Housing stated that this research by Alone and Threshold would ‘help inform our policies and target our housing actions further’ – as if this problem had appeared out of thin air.”

The City North representative continued: “Government can’t wring their hands now and say they didn’t know this crisis existed. Many NGOs and civil society groups have been warning them for years.”

“With almost 12,000 people homeless, 175 of whom are over 65, and over 3,000 of whom are children, this problem is set to get worse in the years ahead as many people in the generation to come have no hope of ever owning their own home” the Cllr concluded.