Labour Party to hold annual Think In in Maynooth
- Senator Mark Wall calls for radical action on housing crisis
The Labour Party will hold its annual Think In at the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth this Thursday and Friday (14th and 15th September).
Speaking in advance of the Think In, Labour Kildare South Senator Mark Wall said Government must refocus its energy on tackling the housing crisis ahead of the Oireachtas’ return next week.
Senator Wall said:
“Upon resuming the office of An Taoiseach in December 2022, Leo Varadkar promised focus and action on the housing crisis. Since then, we have seen an explosion in homelessness, an increase nationwide in rents and more and more families struggling and afraid ahead of the Winter.
“One obvious place for Government to start is to take stronger action to tackle vacancy and dereliction to bring more homes into use.
“While official figures understate the true scale of the problem, we know that nearly 200,000 homes (including seasonal holiday homes) lie vacant or derelict at any one time here in Ireland. A scandalous 37,000 homes have lain vacant since 2016.
“In Kildare alone, some 126 council homes are currently lying vacant in the first six months of this year. It’s simply outrageous.
“This should offend us all at a time when 12,847 people are recorded as homeless and 150,0000 full time workers aged 25-34 are stuck living at home with their parents.
“Vacant and derelict sites blight our towns and cities. In Kildare, I could point to plenty of places that should be tackled to address the housing disaster and bring urban centres back to life.
“Properties which are left vacant for a prolonged period should be compulsorily purchased and local authorities should be resourced to do so.
“Labour will be focusing on holding the Government’s feet to the fire on the failures in housing, but also when it comes to caring for our young and old, and the desperate need for workers’ to receive a badly needed pay rise.
“Only ideology, not the economy, is holding us back on tackling the greatest issues of our times. Labour is fully committed to improving the lives of people up and down this country. You can’t eat good GDP figures. People are struggling and there’s no time for any further delay when it comes to housing in this country.”