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Minister’s limited Bill will not ease Galway Housing Crisis – Ó Clochartaigh

17 November, 2016

Speaking yesterday in the Seanad on the Government’s Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill, An Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said that the legislation was a missed opportunity to tackle the housing crisis head on.

The Galway-South Mayo Seanadóir said:

“Rents in Galway City have increased by 10.9% in a year and in the county by nearly 8%. That is a massive rise for people who are already struggling with stagnant wages and other high living costs. In short, it means at best that people have had to move out from the city and at worst, rent hikes such as this have resulted in people becoming homeless.

“The rising cost of rents is unsustainable as are pushing more and more families into emergency accommodation. The recently released homeless figures for September 2016 reflected this.

“Rent Certainty would have put a break on rising rents. In fact, if Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil had supported our Rent Certainty Bill back in June, hard pressed renters could have saved up €2,000 per year.

“Fine Gael opposed it again in this very chamber a couple of months ago, again aided and abetted by their partners in government Fianna Fáil.

“The Tyrrelstown amendment, a proposal to strengthen tenant’s rights in developments of more than 20 units is weak. The measure only covers 0.56% of landlords and a tiny percentage of rental tenants. The overwhelming majority of those living in the private rented sector will not benefit from this change. This means that those families at risk of homelessness because of buy-to-let properties being repossessed by the banks will continue to be at risk of homelessness.

“To fix a broken housing sector we need to be bold. Increasing the supply of Housing by tampering with the planning system and ‘enhancing the functioning of the private rented sector’, by providing a solution for 0.56% of landlords and an even smaller amount of tenants, will not do the trick.” 

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