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Housing Market has failed our people too many times

10 July 2018

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has said it is time for a new direction in Irish housing policy that recognises the historical failure of the private housing market in Ireland and the central role the State must play to ensure affordable housing for all.

Deputy Howlin said:

"Two years into this government, rents are at records highs, house prices continue to rise well above income growth, and new supply remains too low. Despite this, the State continues to pursue policies that have demonstrably failed including the relaxation of regulations, reductions in development levies, privileged access to state owned land, and cheap financing for housing developers.

"The Labour Party believes Ireland's housing problems can be solved, but that it cannot be done with the approaches advocated by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to date. The volume of housing required to meet the needs of Irish people is not being delivered, nor is there clear evidence that a sufficient number of affordable homes are being built where they are most needed.

"The Government’s reliance on private developers, and the practice of land speculation, means that enough affordable homes will never be built. The supply crisis can only be sustainably resolved through long-term State action.

"The approach that Labour is advocating may be a radical departure for Ireland, but it is the standard model in Europe. Through a new National Housing Development Bank and regional Housing Executives we are proposing the delivery of 80,000 affordable homes over five years on publicly owned land.

"Getting access to affordable, secure housing is impossible for too many people, hinders family formation, and stunts community development. We believe everyone has a right to be able to afford a safe, secure home, it is the benchmark of a decent society, and it is the duty of the State to take action to deliver on that.

"Too many times the housing market has failed in Ireland, with catastrophic results. We propose to ensure the State takes a more direct role in the provision of housing.

"It will address capacity issues in the market, provide stability and security for people and the economy, and foster a more sustainable society.

"Our policy, 'Affordable Housing for All' outlines our analysis in more detail, including how we would make housing affordable and our ten specific proposals to fix the housing system. 

 

"Years of reliance on ‘the market’ to deliver housing have failed. Labour believes that only the State can deliver affordable housing for all.”