EU elections candidate says European institutions must help address housing crisis

Labour candidate for Europe Niamh Hourigan.

LIMERICK European election candidate for Ireland South, Niamh Hourigan, believes that EU institutions must take decisive action in tackling Ireland’s escalating housing crisis.

The Labour politician made the comment after the release of record homeless figures for March 2024, revealing 13,866 individuals, including 4,147 children, now experiencing homelessness.

Ms Hourigan called on EU institutions to take decisive action to regulate short-term lets and prioritise long-term housing solutions.

“The need for urgent intervention has never been more apparent. It is unacceptable that thousands of individuals, including children, are left without stable shelter in one of the wealthiest regions of the world,” Ms Hourigan said.

Ms Hourigan says that if she is elected, she will “work hard with my colleagues in the S&D (Socialists and Democrats) Group. They have been advocating hard for the regulation of the European Housing Market and the necessary changes to EU fiscal rules to enable an ambitious public investment agenda”.

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“By aligning efforts with the S&D group, I aim to prioritise housing as a fundamental human right and address the systemic issues contributing to the crisis. Together, we can push for meaningful change at the European level to ensure adequate housing for all.”

Ms Hourigan also underscored recent legislative progress made by the S&D Group in the European Parliament aimed at regulating short-term letting platforms, such as Airbnb, to protect guests and communities against fraudulent practices.

With over 18,000 entire homes available nationwide for short-term rental on Airbnb, compared to only 2,000 on for long-term lets, Ms Hourigan says the unregulated short-term rental market has exacerbated Ireland’s housing supply crisis.

“The passage of legislation to monitor short-term letting hosts is a step in the right direction, but more must be done to rein in the rampant growth of this market. EU institutions must take decisive action to regulate short-term lets and prioritise long-term housing solutions.”