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Cian O'Callaghan TD

The Minister has distinguished himself by refusing to listen to the advice of experts

A new ESRI report has confirmed what most of us already knew – the government’s housing policy is doomed to fail, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

“This landmark ESRI report echoes what the Social Democrats have repeatedly stated: the government’s housing policy is doomed to fail.

“This government, and previous Fine Gael-led governments, have outsourced responsibility for solving this crisis to the private sector. It hasn’t worked.

“The ESRI report is clear: “the private sector, on its own, is struggling to meet current housing demands”.

“The State must step in and boost capital investment to avoid a further decade of housing misery – insufficient supply, surging house prices and rocketing rents.

“A dysfunctional housing market doesn’t just impact on those whose housing need is not met. High costs are driving up the cost of living and making Ireland less competitive.

“It has been obvious for some time the government’s figures don’t add up. We need 35,000 new housing units per year. Last year, just 20,000 were built. There is a big gap between the two. This will only be bridged with a large State building programme.

“Now is the time to invest in housing. The cost of debt is historically low and the economy is predicted to grow significantly. There will also be real savings by investing – particularly reducing the runaway €1 billion bill for housing supports like HAP.

“The Minister, since he took office, has distinguished himself by refusing to listen to the advice of experts – like the Central Bank, the ESRI and, even, officials in the Department of Finance. The only advice the Minister seems to value is that which comes from big developers and international funds.

“This report must be a wake-up call. The Minister must change course before it’s too late. The stakes could not be higher.

“If he opts to ignore independent experts yet again, he must explain why he believes he knows better.”

3 June, 2021


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