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Tánaiste’s housing policy is nothing more than waffle – McDonald

19 November, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leas Uachtaráin Mary Lou McDonald TD has criticised Tánaiste Joan Burton over the huge increases in rent across the state which have happened under the government’s watch.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Tánaiste, we have the largest jump in rents since 2007. Ireland is one of the most expensive places to rent in Europe. Last year the average increase in rent was 9.3%. Under your watch, rents have almost returned to the level at the peak of the housing bubble.  

“Your government is unwilling to ‘intervene in the market’ unless of course it’s to give tax-breaks and incentives to developers. There are no breaks for ordinary families and individuals, who all over the country are already struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

“You promised rent certainty and rent control – all Alan Kelly delivered was a two year ‘rent freeze’ which is in reality just a delayed rent review - and immediate rent increases for some. Your government promised investment in social housing. Alan Kelly boasted of a tenfold increase in social housing build. Let‘s be clear, that’s a tenfold increase from 20 houses.

“Tánaiste, this is a case of too little and much too late. The reality is that your party, the Labour party, have sided with the landlords and Fine Gael against struggling families. Families that had hoped to own a house. That hope is fading. Today we hear that you are stopping local authority tenants from having the right to buy their own home if they haven’t paid your water charge. That is some record.

“Your policy in relation to housing is nothing more than waffle. It’s recycled statements – it’s rhetoric, it’s the policy of blaming everybody else, councillors, homeless agencies, campaigners – whoever is at hand to offset the blame but you refuse to take responsibility on these matters. That’s the reality and you have set that position out with glorious clarity here today. 

“Tánaiste, your approach to housing is like your approach to water charges. You fold and you adopt Fine Gael policy. You have failed tenants and families and your policies have created incredible hardship.

“So is it not time to go back to the drawing board and deliver what you promised - rent control, rent certainty and security for tenants? And to go back to the drawing board and to revisit those things you promised to block – like water charges.”

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