Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Future Ireland Fund and Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund Bill 2024: Report and Final Stages


4:10 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I rise to support the Sinn Féin amendment No. 3 and the other ones included, up to amendment No. 7. It does not make sense, although it probably makes sense to me who is running this Government. The tail is wagging the dog, completely, totally and utterly. We can raid this fund any time we like for environmental issues, pet projects of the Minister, Deputy Ryan, and the ideology he is following that is destroying our economy. He fundamentally refuses to consider building road projects. This amendment is about housing, which is a massive crisis. However, the Government - and Fine Gael has been in government for 13 years - obviously does not want to deal with the housing crisis. I have come to that conclusion lately because it could not be so diabolical otherwise. It fundamentally does not want to house people. To be fair, from the 1940s to the 1990s Fianna Fáil built houses, but Fine Gael does not want to build the houses. The Government policy now makes sense. They do not want to build the houses. We can move mountains and enact any kind of legislation to house people from other countries who come here as refugees or asylum seekers, but we cannot and will not build for ourselves - full stop, we will not. I have issues. I also see where this fund should be used, which is where there is diabolical and bad infrastructure in places, and that would enable people to build their own houses. There are many small towns, villages and small hamlets that do not have any treatment plants whatsoever. If somebody wants to build their own house in that area they cannot get planning because of lack of capacity in the infrastructure, namely the sewer. Surely to God, we should be able to use some of this fund. While I agree with the principle of the fund we should be able to use some of it to unlock the potential for young people to house themselves given we are in such a state. Everything else the Government is doing, and the Green Party policy driving carbon tax and everything else, is adding to the cost of building houses. It is adding to the costs. As Deputy Doherty asked, what did we do with the mica and the other situation with the concrete? We let CRH off scot-free and put a 5% or 6% levy on every tonne or metre of concrete. The price of concrete has gone through the roof.

We are trying to give incentives and have done so with the non-payment of levies on planning fees for a window from April to whenever. It is due to run out shortly. I hope it will be extended. On the other hand, we are piling on the costs. The cost of insulation is unbelievable because it is oil driven and because of all the taxes and rises on oil, including carbon tax.

The Government is running around in the Cabinet room. I would love to be a fly on the wall. The Green Party is obviously running around with a big stick and Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are running around in front of them and dancing or the Minister, Deputy Ryan, has a fiddle and they are merrily dancing to his tune, any tune he decides to play. It is normally a poor fiddle with very little live music. It is only like Labhraí Loinsigh, when an elder tree was cut down to make a harp for a man with two horse's ears. Someone was always called in, a barber, to shave 11 of them at Christmas time every year. There were straws and whoever drew the short straw was used. That person was always pulled over the River Suir in aice mo theach sa bhaile and that was all we ever saw of him. One man escaped and he cut the throat of the Labhraí Loinsigh. He went and confessed his sins to the elder bush and when the tree was cut down all the fiddle would play was "bhí dhá chluas capaill ar Labhraí Loinsigh". Labhraí Loinsigh had two horse's ears.

The fiddle and tune the Government is dancing to from the Minister, Deputy Ryan, has limited music. It is not even classical music, not to mind the bit of Irish ceol I like. The Government is dancing to his merry tune all the time. If anyone had any doubts about it, the refusal to accept amendments like these is concrete evidence that he is getting his way. He can take money out for his little pet projects in the constituencies of his colleague TDs, trying to save their bacon and we cannot take out a few bob to build a house or infrastructure. Is mór an trua é sin. It is a great pity. It is scandalous.


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