Clare’s vacant home statistics are higher than national average - we need policy to tackle this issue - Violet-Anne Wynne TD
Sinn Féin TD for Clare Violet-Anne Wynne has criticised the government for continuing to introduce misinformed and inefficient housing policy.
Skyrocketing rents, unaffordable market prices, escalating social housing lists and an excess of 90,000 vacant properties define our country’s dysfunctional housing system.
According to statistics published by Daft.ie, there are fewer than 800 properties for rent in the Republic outside of the Dublin area, while the yearly average has always been around 1,400. This coupled with the fact that there are 92,135 vacant properties in the country, has led to critical backlash from Sinn Féin, lead opposition party.
Teachta Wynne said:
“We need to start looking at the bigger picture and connecting the dots. In June of this year there were 3,758 vacant properties in Clare alone.
"That’s an increase of 400 from the end of last year, even though Clare has a full-time vacant home officer, a position that other local authorities don’t have instated.
"At the same time, there are currently 1,201 people on the social housing waiting list here. This number has not significantly been reduced in a number of years despite increasing amounts being allocated in Department of Housing budgets.
“Meanwhile rents across the county have risen by almost 15% over the last year. The government haven’t reviewed HAP bands or local authority income bands in far too long.
"Recent research by Simon Community published in a report called ‘Locked Out of the Market' looked at the cost of renting in 16 locations across the state.
"The report found that out of 2,208 properties available to rent at any price, just 63 of those properties were available to rent within the standard HAP rates.
“In nine of the 16 areas, there were no properties available to rent in any category within standard or discretionary Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment HAP limits and there were no properties to rent for a single person within the standard limits in any of the 16 locations, despite the fact that almost half of the people on social housing waiting lists in 2019 were single adults.
“The time has come for us to reflect deeply and honestly on the current housing crisis. It is the accumulative result of many FF/FG government’s shambolic housing policies.
“Housing policy at present constitutes an epic failure; the Land Development Agency for example which 3 years after its inception and an initial cash injection of €1.25bn, still has not delivered a fraction of its projected homes in its first three years of operation.
“The Davy report suggests that 200,000 homes will be needed to be constructed between 2021-2024 if we are to meet the increasing social housing needs, as well as latent demand in the housing market. This figure is staggering, and highly unrealistic if we reflect on the pathetic figures of houses delivered by recent governments.
“Targets have consistently been missed. Rebuilding Ireland’s ambitious aim of delivering 50,000 additional social housing units in 2021, when only 6,000 have been provided by the end of the first quarter is grounds to believe these targets too are pie-in-the-sky figures.
“I am contacted every single day by Clare constituents who find themselves in extremely precarious accommodation positions. I’m talking about hundreds of people whose mental health and wellbeing is at risk because of soaring rents, threats of eviction and a lack of provision of adequate housing despite being on a local authority list for years.
“A secure home is a right – it is not a privilege. Sinn Féin’s contributions to the Government’s ‘Housing for All’ plan, including doubling capital investment from €1.4 to €2.8bn. in order to actually deliver 20,000 units per year, need to take seriously by government if we stand any chance to genuinely resolve the housing crisis."