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Tackling housing crisis must be a top priority for incoming Government – Ó Snodaigh

7 June, 2007

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said one of the first priorities for the incoming Government must be to tackle the housing crisis by initiating a major housing programme to meet the needs of the many thousands of families on waiting lists throughout the state. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said 70,000 new social housing units are required and must be built by 2012.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "There are over 40,000 families on housing waiting lists throughout the state and that's without taking into account all those who do not put their names down because they know that there is no chance of them actually been allocated a local authority home unless they are among the most needy in society.

"It is high time for housing policy to be radically changed in this state from one driven by developers and speculators to one which is driven by Government in the interest of the people. Ending the housing crisis must be a top priority for whoever makes up the next Government. We must see the initiation of a major Government led housing programme giving local authorities a leading role in the provision of housing. This programme should deliver 70,000 new social housing units in the next five years to 2012. That's 14,000 new homes for each year of the next Dáil term.

"There must also be a reversal of the get out clause in Part V of the Planning and Development Act which allows developers to buy their way out of their obligation to provide social housing in all new housing developments. Sinn Féin wants to see this obligation increased to 30% of all new developments with at least 10% Social and at least 10% affordable."

As speculation mounted today that the incoming government will rush legislation through the Dáil getting rid of stamp duty, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said any potential reduction in house prices will be usurped by greedy developers who will no doubt increase their prices.

"While the housing market continues to be driven by developers and speculators it makes no sense to abolish stamp duty. This may sound like the perfect way to reduce house prices for first time buyers. However it is clear that any potential will be usurped by greedy developers who will no doubt increase their prices to make up the difference. A much more sensible measure that would be of significantly more benefit to home buyers would be to increase mortgage tax relief." ENDS

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