Seanad debates

Friday, 4 June 2021

9:30 am

Photo of Micheál CarrigyMicheál Carrigy (Fine Gael)

I welcome the Minister of State and support the motion. It highlights what the Government plans to deliver in the coming years. It is important to note that the Government takes the housing crisis seriously, is taking action and is willing to deliver social, affordable and private housing through whatever mechanism to deliver what is needed, namely, homes. It is important that the State uses every available asset it has to support citizens in doing that. The combination of the Affordable Housing Bill, the Land Development Agency and budgets that will be provided will provide homes for everybody for decades to come. The programme for Government agreed by the three parties commits to building on the foundation of Rebuilding Ireland to deliver housing for all. The document expresses a core belief that everybody should have access to good quality housing for purchase or at an affordable rent. It is vital that we deliver on that.

In my county, there are more than 800 people on the housing list but we have a very proactive director of services, Mr. John Brannigan, who is delivering housing for the county. The Minister of State, Deputy Burke, was in Longford earlier today, where three schemes were launched. What we need in the county is a mix of affordable and social housing. Senator McGahon referred to the need to ask questions of all local authorities. Some local authorities are not delivering and there is a need for somebody to be made accountable for that.

I ask the Minister of State to consider other schemes that can provide family homes for people such as allowing people who may wish to downsize from larger three-bedroom or four-bedroom houses to two-bedroom accommodation, thus freeing up the larger houses. There is also the issue of the taxation of rental income in the context of those who have gone into long-term care under the fair deal scheme and whose homes are sitting empty.

I look forward to working with the Minister of State. It is incumbent on us to work with all parties to make sure we deliver what we have promised and, as has been said, not to use this issue as a political football, especially, as we have seen in the past hour, in the context of trying to win an upcoming by-election.

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