Dáil debates

Tuesday, 9 July 2024

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

 

2:00 pm

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)

Faoi cheannasaíocht Fhine Gael agus Fianna Fáil, tá deireadh tagtha le tithíocht inacmhainne. Léiríonn an phraiseach ar Bhóthar Oscair Mhic Thréinir nach bhfuil scéim tithíochta inacmhainne an Rialtais ag obair. Is í an eagla anois nach mbeidh na cíosanna san fhorbraíocht ar phraghas réasúnta do ghnáthdhaoine ach an oiread.

House prices continue to spiral beyond the reach of ordinary working people. A report by Myhome.ie this week shows house prices increasing at their fastest rate for almost two years, having increased by 7.3% in the past year. Only a dramatic increase in the supply of affordable homes will curb out-of-control house prices. The Government must provide affordable housing schemes that deliver homes to buy and to rent at prices that working people can actually afford.

Last night, Dublin City Council held an emergency meeting and backed a Sinn Féin motion on the Oscar Traynor Road scandal. At the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that the Minister for housing, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, must meet with councillors to explain why the homes being delivered on what was public land are so expensive. Councillors expressed their anger at the prices being charged for these so-called affordable homes. To remind the Taoiseach, three-bedroom homes are priced at between €400,000 and €475,000 while the prices of two-bedroom homes range from €335,000 to €427,000 and those of one-bedroom homes range from €264,000 to €308,000.

They do not believe these prices are affordable, but it seems the Government does. They accept that the policy of transferring valuable State-owned land to private developers is a disaster for housing affordability. The Government has got this badly wrong. The evidence is to be seen in Coolock and in my own constituency in O'Devaney Gardens, where the price of homes delivered through the Government's scheme is expected to be even higher than those at Oscar Traynor Road. In both cases, the promise was for affordable homes on these sites. In truth, the prices being charged are so high that the vast majority of local people will never have the chance to purchase these properties.

The second part of the scheme was meant to deliver affordable homes to rent. In order to force through the deals with developers at O'Devaney Gardens and Oscar Traynor Road, the Government promised affordable homes to rent on these sites. Another promise made, another promise to be broken. People are now deeply concerned that, just like the house prices, the rents will be sky-high too. At last night's council meeting, officials were asked whether these rents will be affordable but the question was not answered.

Does the Taoiseach know what the rents at Oscar Traynor Road and O'Devaney Gardens will be? New market rents in Dublin 5 and Dublin 7 are rising all the time. They are now so high that even with the Government's schemes' discount, the rent for a one-bedroom unit could be between €1,200 and €1,600 a month, the rent for a two-bedroom unit could be between €1,600 and €1,700 a month and the rent for a three-bedroom unit could be anything from €1,700 to €1,900 per month. Those are not affordable rents. More to the point, rip-off rents like those make a mockery of the so-called affordability scheme. Affordable homes to buy and rent can be delivered but the answer is to retain public land, to build on public land and for the Government to guarantee house prices and rents that working people can truly afford.

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