Seanad debates

Friday, 4 June 2021

9:30 am

Photo of Fintan WarfieldFintan Warfield (Sinn Fein)

I move amendment No. 1:

To delete all words after “That Seanad Éireann:” and substitute the following:

“believes that:

- access to appropriate and affordable housing is a human right;

- Covid-19 has highlighted how many people are denied this right;

- the number of people experiencing family homelessness will continue to rise due to the Covid-19 rental protections being lifted;

- workers and families are struggling to access affordable housing;

- capital investment in social and affordable housing must be doubled;

- the right to appropriate and affordable housing, and an obligation to eliminate homelessness should be inserted into the Constitution of Ireland;

acknowledges that:

- in 2019 Fianna Fáil voted against a Bill that would have allowed for a referendum on the right to housing;

- Fianna Fáil secured an additional €160m to deliver only 993 extra homes; €124m to deliver an additional 593 social homes; and €35m to deliver 400 cost rental homes in Budget 2020;

- Fianna Fáil’s developer-led shared equity loan scheme (€75m), compared to cost rental (€30m), will inflate house prices and will do little to increase affordable supply;

- the Land Development Agency is not the solution to the housing crisis and should be repurposed into an active land management agency;

calls on the Government to:

- double capital investment in public housing from €1.4bn to at least €2.8bn;

- fund local authorities, approved housing bodies and community housing trusts to build public housing on public land;

- halt the sweetheart land deals with private developers where up to 60% of the homes are sold at unaffordable open market prices;

and calls on the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to provide a date for a referendum on the right to housing to ensure that the public get to vote on inserting the right to appropriate and affordable housing, and an obligation to eliminate homelessness into the Constitution of Ireland.”

We need a radical new plan for housing and we need to move on from the failed policy of Rebuilding Ireland. We need to recognise that if the State is serious about meeting the needs of workers and families and fixing a catastrophic market failure, then we need to double capital investment from €1.4 billion to at least €2.8 billion. By public housing I mean social housing, affordable cost-rental, which Sinn Féin has long supported, and affordable cost-purchase, all on public land and delivered by local authorities, approved housing bodies and community housing trusts. I propose to split my time, three minutes each, with Senator Boylan.

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