Message from Party Leader - Edition 4 2024

I hope you are enjoying the longer evenings and the first beginnings of summer. With just six weeks to go, all eyes are now on the Local and European elections.
Ivana Bacik TD

I hope you are enjoying the longer evenings and the first beginnings of summer. With just six weeks to go, all eyes are now on the Local and European elections. We have over 100 great local candidates for Council elections – and three great European candidates with Niamh Hourigan in Ireland South, Fergal Landy in Midlands North West and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in Dublin.

Housing is one of the issues that comes up again and again on the doors, and is one of Labour’s key priorities – I have described it as the civil rights issue of this generation.

This week, the Government presented its quarterly Housing for All update. The press conference appeared to be a smiley, happy occasion, but the reality of this housing disaster for people on the sharp edge of the crisis, is not one of optimism.

Today, homeless figures were released that document 13,866 people living in homelessness across the country, 4,147 of which are children. This is a national disgrace. At the same time, those who are facing eviction and are looking to avail of schemes, such as the tenant in situ scheme, are becoming mired in paperwork and inactivity from local authorities.

Upon the Government’s cruel decision to lift the temporary eviction ban last year, we heard a lot of promises from the Government about the introduction of new measures to keep people in their homes. Many of these policies, such as the right to first refusal for tenants, have still not been brought in. The no-fault eviction ban should never have been lifted, especially when there was no plan in place for the thousands set to become homeless due to evictions.

Delay and a lack of ambition continue to define the approach in the Department of Housing, with dire consequences. Just this week, the Irish Council for Social Housing warned that older people and disabled people risked becoming an “underclass”, due to a lack of appropriate social housing. The time is up for this Government. We need more affordable homes, more social homes, more retrofitting. Under Housing for All, we will never see the level of supply that is needed, because the plan is fundamentally flawed.

For about six months now, even the Government have accepted that its targets are too low. No glossy booklets, or polished press conferences can change the fact that, even if implemented in full, Housing for All is incapable of delivering the homes that are needed. We now know that we are going to be waiting until the autumn before we see higher targets and all those progress reports are predicated on a fantasy.

The Government’s delay in publishing revised targets is illogical – you wouldn’t train for a marathon by setting the ceiling of your ambition at a 5km run. None of us in Labour believe in trickle-down politics, but it is true to say that a lack of urgency at the top of Government on housing is trickling down; it’s slowing down construction across the country. Waiting for so long before increasing housing targets is not acceptable to me, or to the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been placed on hold by a lack of housing supply.

Labour has a plan to build and retrofit one million homes over the next 10 years and we have produced a Renters’ Rights Bill that would bring about much greater security for renters. We have put forward clear proposals on housing policy as recently as March, when we tabled a Dáil motion on housing. The Government did not even oppose our motion, but are showing no urgency in the implementation of the measures we have proposed.

Over the coming year we will continue to push for the publication of new and increased housing targets, an end to developer-led planning, and provisions ensuring greater decency and security for renters. I know that housing is a priority for all our Councillors and local candidates – and our record on housing will stand to us as we make the case for Labour candidates on doors over the next few weeks.

I would encourage all members to get out canvassing for our candidates over the coming weeks. We’re in the final stretch now and it has never been more important to bring a Labour voice to our local authorities and to the European Parliament too. I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail.

In Solidarity,


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