Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
I thank the Ceann Comhairle's office for selecting this Topical Issue matter. Deputy Carey and I have combined on this matter and I will use two minutes to speak on it. I also thank the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, for taking this Topical Issue matter, which relates to a very important report. It is the only report of its type I am aware of in Ireland at present. It was commissioned by Clare Public Participation Network, PPN. I acknowledge the presence of Ms Sarah Clancy from Clare PPN, who is in the Public Gallery. A significant effort went into this report. It was done on a shoestring budget of €17,000 and was authored by Dr. Conor McCabe. It deals with poverty and marginalisation in County Clare at a granular, county level. It is a report I have never seen the likes of before.
I will address some of the issues that came up in the report. In Clare at present, there are approximately 2,800 people on our housing list. Some 1,500 of them are people who desire to move to a different property for transfer reasons, but 1,300 applicants are without any home. Some are sleeping on couches and some are living in housing assistance payment accommodation but all desire a home for their families. I am sure many Deputies have looked at a website,insideairbnb.com, over the years. It drills down into the information on rooms and houses available on Airbnb every day of the year. As of today, there are 1,483 accommodation units available in County Clare on Airbnb. We have 1,300 people without homes in County Clare today. There is something systematically wrong when we have an adequate housing stock to put roofs over their heads, but we have some barrier preventing that from happening. I suggest the use of taxation measures and incentives to encourage these landlords to make their houses available. It is not about punishing people but incentivising a way to make these houses available for the general housing stock.
I have more to say and will come in shortly on that.