Labour has no confidence in Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in housing

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
12 December 2022

Speaking in advance of a Dáil motion on the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said Labour has no confidence in either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil when it comes to housing.

After six wasted years of failed housing policy, Senator Moynihan said the government’s silver bullet, Housing for All, is failing across all markers. The human cost of the crisis sees over 11,000 people living in homelessness this December.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Labour has no confidence in Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil to resolve the housing crisis. We’ve had six wasted years of housing policy with Fine Gael propped up by Fianna Fáil. We have a rental market in chaos, home ownership out of the grasp of many, vulture funds swooping in and purchasing homes before they come on stream, and over 11,000 people paying the ultimate price living in homelessness. These consistent failures point to a Minister out of depth with the crisis. What is needed is radical action to deliver social and affordable homes.

“In tomorrow’s debate, we will see plenty of reheated political messages from the Minister and his Ministerial colleagues, rather than any work of substance. The facts speak for themselves. Over one year on, Housing For All has clearly failed and the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil policy of not increasing rental stock is backfiring dramatically. Government is behind on the majority of its self-prescribed targets, including cost-rental homes.

“The Census shows that our population is rising above 5 million people. I have serious concerns about this Minister, any potential Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil housing minister, and the ‘silver bullet’ that is Housing for All, being able to provide enough targeted housing on an annual basis.

“Ultimately, it is clear, and all experts tell us, that the State must take on a more direct role in the system, as the private market has vastly different objectives on housing. This government would much prefer private interests to take the lead. It’s a strategy that’s failing fast.

“Across all Government parties, there is plenty of lip service and no meaningful action. Leo Varadkar said that the social contract was broken, that Housing for All needs time, but he said the same thing 4 years ago about Rebuilding Ireland. People are sick of sound bites we need and want real action on the housing and homelessness crisis.

“Minister O’Brien has dragged his heels on every bit of progressive policy since taking office. The majority of positive changes have come following campaigning by the Labour Party and other opposition parties – from the eviction ban, to the revision of social housing income limits, to restricting AirBnB to the tenant in situ scheme.

“We also called for an emergency Housing for All strategy for the winter months to ensure that no one would be living in homelessness this Christmas – yet with temperatures well under 0 degrees, over 11,000 people, including 3,480 children, are living in homelessness.

“Housing is the cornerstone of a person’s life; it provides the security to live a fulfilled life. This Government is not giving people a fair shot at living. Labour will vote no confidence in this government’s housing Minister tomorrow. After years of private market failure, we must provide a new model to tackle the housing crisis. The supply and affordability crisis can only be sustainably resolved through long-term State action that delivers affordable housing for once and for all.”

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