Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Since the last general election we have been subject to the concoction that is the confidence and supply deal between the Tánaiste's party and Fianna Fáil. Last night the leader of Fianna Fáil confirmed that he has once again bent the knee to renew Fine Gael's deal for another year. On the one hand he is quite happy to come to the House and criticise the Government week in, week out for the Government's very obvious failings. On the other hand he and his party, through the confidence and supply deal, are keeping the Tánaiste and his Government in office. It is a nonsensical position and we hear some of it again this morning.
When it was cobbled together in 2016 the confidence and supply deal was heralded as a new beginning of new politics. It has been anything but. It has proved to be a political con job, designed to allow Fianna Fáil the pretence of being in opposition while it is actually in government in all but name. I believe it has been bad for politics, but more important it has been bad for citizens, not least the tens of thousands of citizens affected by the housing and homelessness crisis.
Rents and house prices are out of control and continue to rise. We see it time and again and I have raised the issue in this Chamber over and over. It is borne out in the Residential Tenancies Board rent index, which was published this morning. It shows that the national average rent is now €1,122 per month. In Dublin the average monthly rent is now a staggering €1,620. Not a single affordable home to rent or buy has been delivered by the Government over the past three years. An entire generation of young people face the prospect of never owning their own home. Under Fine Gael's watch homelessness has reached unprecedented levels, with some 10,000 people homeless. Scandalously, 4,000 children will spend their Christmas in emergency accommodation this year. We are aware that the real number of those who are homeless is a lot higher, closer to the 13,000 figure, as highlighted by my colleague, Deputy Eoin Ó Broin. I put it to the Tánaiste that this is a scandalous record. It is a record that Fianna Fáil seems happy to endorse. What has that party got from these so called negotiations? Absolutely nothing. That is not surprising because together Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have voted down Sinn Féin's proposals for real rent certainty.