Seanad debates

Thursday, 28 November 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Kevin HumphreysKevin Humphreys (Labour)

I echo the remarks of Senator O'Donnell. Such incidents occur across the country. There are communities in Dublin that are not policed. The Minister, Deputy Flanagan, must explain why the allocation for Garda recruitment was reduced in the budget.

I wish to raise the issue of housing. It has been reported in today's morning papers that an entire housing estate in Maynooth has been bought for €57 million and the properties are to be put on the rental market. We need a healthy and well-regulated rental market. The regulations must be enforced. What we are seeing over and over again is entire apartment blocks or housing estates being purchased in order to be put on the rental market. This is leading to the breakdown of communities. We need a mix of rental, social housing and other forms of housing. People who are earning a reasonable income should have the opportunity to purchase a house, but they cannot compete with these investors. Earlier this month, AIB and Bank of Ireland put together a fund of €50 million to buy up small residential developments which will be put up for rent. In my area, many young couples were hoping to have an opportunity to purchase one of the approximately 150 apartments being developed in a complex in Mount Argus.They then read in the newspaper that it was entirely purchased by a fund.

I know certain Members of this House, mainly on the Government benches, are sewn into the idea of a market economy and they say the market will decide. Ireland was traditionally a homeowner society with people who put roots into communities and created sustainable communities and they wanted to live in those communities in the long term to rear a family, to contribute to society and to build a community. This is no longer happening because we have an ideology that the market decides. That ideology will only offer the children who are in this House today an opportunity to rent for the rest of their lives. They will not have the same opportunity their parents had to purchase a house, to build a community and to build a family, safe in the security of knowing they own their home. We have an economy that is market-driven and we have a party that says the market decides, which was said in this House about co-living. It was said that the market will decide how many co-living units we will have and that we will only see them in the city centre. Now we see them all over the country.

We have a grave responsibility to the generation sitting in the Gallery so that they have an opportunity to purchase their own homes and rear a family. We have a responsibility to the 20 year olds and 30 year olds so that they will not get caught in a scheme where they will have a pension fund that will only pay for their accommodation. We are not doing any forward planning on families in this State because it is a market economy and that is disgraceful.

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