The housing system is ‘utterly dysfunctional and is not working for anyone’, Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.
The Dundalk TD was speaking during Sinn Féin’s private members’ motion on the residential property market in the Dáil last week.
On Sunday, it was revealed that more than €225 million of public money that was supposed to stimulate supply was used by private funds to buy houses and apartments before they could be put on the open market for regular buyers.
The news was revealed by the Sunday Business Post.
During the debate, Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘We have a housing policy that has failed. We have heard many times over the years of the consistent and constant failure to build council houses, affordable cost rental homes and houses that can be bought at affordable rates.
We have heard the stories in recent days: of people who are paying extortionate rates of rent; of those who are lucky enough to avail of HAP and who still have to pay top-ups; and of the huge amount of money we spend on HAP as a State.
‘In 2020 we spent in or around €464.6 million on HAP. This is crazy. We are on the side of IREFs (Irish Real Estate Funds) and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and we have facilitated them with tax breaks every which way’.
He said there are many ways of drawing down money, without relying on these funds and trusts.
He said: ‘We need to put a shape and structure in place that allow people to afford rents and to be able to buy affordable houses and in order that we produce affordable cost rentals.
‘The system we have is utterly dysfunctional and is not working for anybody.
‘There is talk about the Land Development Agency, LDA, being a solution and selling land to developers, as opposed to using our own land. Even if that is the case, we will be getting developers to build on it to produce what we need to produce.
‘If we talk about an affordable housing scheme with houses at €450,000, where are we going? Everybody is being priced out of the market. We have a huge quotient of people who will miss their slot to be able to buy houses.
We hear from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that they are the parties of delivering for homeownership. They need to do it.
‘I am not overly concerned about anything from an ideological point of view but let us be clear that what Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have done to date has not worked and what they are planning to do will not work. ‘Rather than make snide comments, it would be far better for them to read the real solutions that Deputies Ó Broin and Doherty have put together. We should stop the political backbiting and we could deliver for our people because we are failing them’.