Fianna Fáil’s developer led mindset will never deliver affordable rents

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
30 April 2021

News that the Housing Minister will allow investors to build ‘cost rental’ homes for profit is not surprising but deeply dangerous, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan. In a week where Government had an opportunity to support a Labour amendment which would tie rent and the concept of ‘affordability’ to people’s incomes, the Government chose to vote this amendment down. In a ferocious market where renters continue to bear the brunt of bad Government policy and cosying with investors, Senator Moynihan said low-income workers cannot take anymore fall out from mismanagement of the housing crisis.

Senator Moynihan said:

“This week at the housing committee, Government had an opportunity to support a Labour Party amendment to the Affordable Housing Bill which would link ‘affordable’ rent to a person’s income. Now reports in the Irish Independent show us that Government want to include profit for investors within the cost. It’s clear that the ‘Affordable’ Housing Bill is not going to be about affordability, but just State support for investors to keep rents high.

“These very practices and developer led mindset led us to a housing bubble over 10 years ago which burst spectacularly, hurting ordinary, hard working people to this very day. Yet this very same investor and market mindset dominates housing policy with this Fianna Fáil Minister.

“It’s very clear. Government’s policy when it comes to housing is profit driven, affordable housing will not be linked to a person’s income. Its policy is to use State money to lease BTR for social housing. The Government are relying on the private sector to provide social housing through HAP. To add insult to injury, the Help to Buy and Shared Equity is a subsidy to developers.

“So despite the fact that Ireland remains in the depth of a housing crisis, where young people, single people, families are trapped paying phenomenal rents which continue to increase, this Government remains devoted to developers. The whole purpose of an affordable rental model is to target lower-income renters, protecting them and ensuring they have a roof over their head in a crazy rental market.

“Affordable housing as a concept means that the cost of housing is affordable relative to the income of a person or household. Instead, the Minister wants to support a finance-based private sector that cannot adequately meet the housing needs of people in Ireland, particularly young workers and those on lower-income.

“A safe and secure home is a human right and it is the benchmark of a decent society. The State has a duty to take whatever action necessary to ensure that everyone can afford a home. We need a new deal for renters and Labour’s amendment was an opportunity to make real, progressive change for real affordable rental in this country.”

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