Homelessness a direct result of failed years policy outsourcing our social housing provision

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
11 October 2022

Responding to the Focus Ireland report published today which highlights the failings in housing policy, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said it’s time for government to right the wrongs of this year’s budget.

Without an emergency eviction ban and a time-limited rent freeze, Senator Moynihan said homelessness will continue to rise.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Ensuring that people have a place to call home is a marker of a fair society. Unfortunately when it comes to building homes and protecting people from entering homelessness, this Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael government are failing fast. Ireland’s housing policy simply is not working.

“It’s a fallacy to think that the market cannot be controlled. We have called for the Housing Minister to take radical action to address the chronic issues of supply within the market and protect those at risk of eviction.

“The onus is on the Minister to pick up the slack from where the private sector has failed in terms of keeping people in their homes this winter. Our private rental sector is too big, we can’t address this through tax incentives for landlords and need to change our attitude around responsibility of people who provide homes for profit.

“Government must build a housing system that works and protects people against homelessness through emergency, time-limited measures and providing social housing rather than outsourcing it to casual landlords. Labour has called for an eviction ban and a rent freeze over the months ahead to address the issues facing renters in the private market.

“For this emergency period, the Minister must scale up the tenant in situ powers to ensure that where a landlord is leaving the market, the tenant can remain in their home. This is a huge issue that many renters have been faced with over the past 12 months. Right now, businesses renting have far better security of tenure than people renting. This insecurity experienced by renters is having huge social consequences. We know that a huge volume of people entering homelessness come from the private rental sector.

“At a time of prosperity for private landlords with record profits being made, renters must not pay the ultimate price of losing their home. It is renters, not landlords who need State intervention and I reject any calls for tax incentives unless linked to affordability and at maximum the cost of the mortgage.

“As the Focus Ireland report shows, the reason we have over 3,000 children living in homelessness today is due to an abject failure of Government policy. We know that there is no simple solution when it comes to housing. It takes two to three years to build homes. Yet Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have had over five wasted years when it comes to addressing Ireland’s housing disaster.

“This is no time for business as usual. The scale of the housing disaster must be addressed through extraordinary measures. We have seen as a nation what the State is capable of when it intervenes to protect people. It’s time for this Government to step up and take its responsibility to protect people from homelessness seriously.”

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