Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

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


4:40 pm

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

When Deputy Gould referred to price increases in the Minister's community, he challenged him. House prices in the Minister's community have increased by 50%. There has been an increase of €130,000 for an existing home in the Minister's community, a fact he ignored.

He said the Government is delivering affordable and cost-rental housing. The Government has missed every single target for affordable and cost-rental housing since it came into office. That is a blatant fact. There is no disputing it. Sin é; deireadh an scéal. That is the reality. The reason house prices are going through the roof in the Minister's community, my community and elsewhere is the Government is not dealing with demand.

The Minister said there is no cap on the ambitions of local authorities. That is nonsense. The Government's Estimates place a cap on the Department and, therefore, what it can fund in terms of housing for local authorities. Let us not pretend it is the case that money is not the issue. Of course, money is the issue. I made the point that the Government will not ramp up the level of ambition needed in terms of social, affordable and cost-rental homes without significantly increasing the expenditure levels of capital investment over the next number of years, something the Government is not doing.

Under the fund in the Bill, it is planned to put €6.5 billion away for the future. Some years we will able to do a portion of that. However, if we want to increase investment in social, affordable and cost-rental homes, ensure people in all of our communities can afford to build a house, reverse what is happening under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael where homeownership is collapsing, people are locked out of affordability and into sky-high rents and are giving up on the State because they believe housing is not there to meet their needs and are instead finding other countries to live in, we have to increase the level of investment. The Bill is not allowing the Government the flexibility to do that because the Government puts, as a priority over everything else in law, the transfer of money to the fund as opposed to what we are trying to do, which is to examine what is happening in infrastructure and housing. That is why I will press the amendment.


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