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Progressive vision immediately needed by government on housing crisis – Senator Reilly

5 November, 2015

Speaking this evening in the Seanad on a Private Members Business motion last night, Sinn Fein’s Kathryn Reilly supported a call for the government to create a system where housing is not just reliant on the private for profit sector.

Senator Reilly said:

“The governments housing policy over the last four years has resulted in deepening and worsening the housing crisis.

“There is a chronic lack of social and affordable housing. The government has built only a fraction of the social housing needed. It has refused to tackle rising rents or rent uncertainty. That amounts to the current housing crisis being government policy.

“Across the state there are one hundred and thirty thousand people on the social housing waiting list. This is an increase of forty thousand from four years ago. The housing crisis is by no means confined to Dublin.

“In Cavan, there are currently in the region of 1,146 people on the waiting list for social housing. This has increased year on year and shows no signs of abating. 

“It will be forever to the shame of the Seanad and Dáil that this Oireachtas removed the legal protection preventing so many family homes from being taken by the banks.

“It is always worth reminding ourselves that the commercial loans and not the mortgage sector loans were the most toxic of the loan books at Irish banks. An assessment of Anglo Irish's mortgage loan book reveals how small it was in comparison to its commercial loan book.

“Furthermore, Fine Gael and Labour connived with the Central Bank to amend the Code of Conduct so that the banks could put more pressure on homeowners and Minister Noonan allows the Central Bank to count repossessions as ‘solutions’.

 “There has never been as desperate a need for a new vision around housing in Ireland. It is essential that the state build sufficient housing and tackle spiralling rent costs and address the commodification of housing which is causing another housing bubble.

 “It is high time the government changed its housing policy and initiate an immediate programme of responsibly planned building of social housing across this state, implement rent controls and seriously review of bank repossessions.

“In a stable, prosperous society everybody should be in functional, comfortable, and affordable housing.”

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