Dáil debates

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

 

12:00 pm

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)

Le gach seachtain a ritheann, tá an géarchéim tithíochta ag dul ó smacht i gcónaí. Léiríonn an tuarascáil cíosa is déanaí a d'fhoilsigh Daft.ie ar maidin go bhfuil an meánchíos iarrata thuas beagnach 12% ar fud an Stáit. With every week that passes, the housing crisis continues to spiral out of control. Rents are rising, house prices are rising and social housing needs continue to grow. The latest rental report published by Daft.ie this morning shows that the average asking rent is up by nearly 12% across the State and that 22 counties are seeing double-digit rent inflation. Rents are increasing by over 20% in counties Roscommon, Leitrim and Donegal, my county. The consumer price index that was published this morning shows that the rent paid by all private renters, including new and existing tenants, has risen by 9.3% in the past year. This is madness.

By every meaningful measure, the Government's housing plan is failing and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is failing. His latest plan is to give developers between €120,000 and €144,000 of taxpayers' money for each apartment they build. The Minister has said that the aim of this scheme is to enable affordability for people to be able to buy and that the beneficiaries would be the public, who will be in a position, he says, to buy apartments in city schemes. On the radio this week, the Tánaiste's colleague Senator Cummins claimed that this was a subsidy for the purchaser but the reality and the kicker are as follows: the scheme the Government claims is aimed at increasing affordability explicitly rules out discounts for purchasers. It is a big payday for developers but there is zero, zilch, nadafor those who desperately want to purchase affordable homes in our city. It means that purchasers will still have to fork out between €500,000 and €600,000, or more, because these apartments will be sold at market prices. Who on Earth can afford these off-the-wall prices? The Government's scheme is not about creating affordability for those on ordinary incomes. It is clear from this scheme that at best it will lock in sky-high and unaffordable prices, and at worst it will drive up housing prices even further as developers will simply price in the subsidy. Of all the pro-developer schemes that the Tánaiste and his Government have come up with, this one takes the biscuit. This is absolute madness.

The big problem with the Government’s housing policy is that all the measures it has introduced so far are driving up the cost of homes. Is it any wonder that so many people have given up, right across this city and beyond, on the aspiration of owning a home? The Tánaiste has said he believes in home ownership but he has a funny way of showing it because people are looking on at this latest scheme in complete disbelief. It is bonkers for the Tánaiste, his Government and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to be giving €120,000 to €144,000 to developers for each apartment they deliver and not to deliver any price reduction for home buyers because that is what this is. Housing can be fixed, and this generation can have a real chance, but to do that the Government needs to turn away from the policies that prioritise the profits of developers and finally put a focus on meeting the housing needs of ordinary workers and families. I put it to the Tánaiste that the Government should scrap the scheme of handing out €450 million to developers. What about the following for an idea? What about using that €450 million to directly deliver homes that people can afford to buy?

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