Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Housing for All: Statements (Resumed)
I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Noonan, to the Chamber for another debate on housing. I am delighted to have the opportunity to discuss housing, and more particularly Housing for All. When we mention figures and data from a Government point of view, they are factual, accurate and realistic, unlike those of the major Opposition party, whose policy would not stand up to any scrutiny. Its policy is composed of slogans with no depth at all. We must take a quick look back at what has been achieved since the publication of Housing for All. Some critical pieces of legislation were passed prior to it, which underpin the delivery of housing under the Housing for All strategy. In the previous Dáil, we had the heads of the Bill to set up the Land Development Agency. At the time, many of us in the House had major reservations about it, but by the time it was adopted in this Dáil, the Bill was completely and utterly unrecognisable from the heads of the Bill that were first introduced. The key component of it is to deliver public housing on public land, specifically in cities where almost 100% of public land will be used for public housing - social, affordable and cost rental.
We delivered the most comprehensive piece of affordable housing legislation in the history of the State. It had four key elements in it: the increase in the Part V back to 20%; the new shared equity scheme; the local authority affordable housing scheme; and the cost rental element. For the first time, the Minister secured a multi-annual capital budget of €4 billion per annum. That was never done before. Housing for All was published with the intention of delivering 300,000 houses, including 90,000 social houses. I accept they will be delivered through a different mechanism to how they were previously delivered, but we will be delivering 90,000 social houses and 54,000 affordable and cost rental houses. It is the largest State intervention in the housing market in history. We are intervening to the extent that every second home built in Ireland today will be built as a result of State intervention.
Let us look at what Sinn Féin's recent housing budget was going to do. Senator Warfield mentioned the downturn in homeownership. We had better not put Sinn Féin in or nobody will own a home. Sinn Féin would scrap the first home scheme. The first home shared equity scheme would be scrapped. Croí Cónaithe would be scrapped. Any measure that was to be put in place to help people own their own home was going to be scrapped by Sinn Féin. The party is going to remove the four-stage process for the delivery of social housing and get local authorities to build housing directly, and Sinn Féin is going to do it by 2023.They are going to build more houses with less money. Somebody tell me when a local authority last directly built a local authority housing scheme. Sinn Féin is magically going to do it overnight.
The other one I have real fun with is every time Deputy John Brady is on the radio saying that Sinn Féin is going to build real houses. My God - Sinn Féin is going to build real houses. What about the 24,600 houses we have built this year? Do they not have windows and doors, kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms? Are there not 24,600 families living in them? There are. What does Sinn Féin mean by its slogan to the effect that it will build real housing?
These are the things we must take into account when we look at Housing for All. We are seeing increases in housing delivery, planning applications and commencements on a sustainable basis. Housing for All is working. We are gradually building sustainable growth within that policy. It must be maintained and be kept in place. I would take this sustainable growth any day ahead of Sinn Féin's school of house building headed up by the wizard that is Deputy Ó Broin.