Micheál Martin to propose severe sanctions for land hoarding developers

Opening comments at FF ard fheis will see Martin strongly criticise Government’s response to housing crisis

The Fianna Fáil leader has  supported his party’s calls to reduce the construction industry Vat rates. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Fianna Fáil leader has supported his party’s calls to reduce the construction industry Vat rates. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is to propose severe sanctions for developers who continuously hoard land at his party’s ard fheis this weekend.

In his opening comments to the party, Mr Martin will strongly criticise the Government’s response to the housing crisis and its response to measures proposed by Fianna Fáil.

All options must be considered in this area, including utilising credit unions to help young couples purchase their own home, he will say.

Affordable owner occupier and rental housing schemes need to be introduced for middle income households and apartment blocks should be made higher, he added.

Prior to the ard fheis, Mr Martin said: “Everyone is aware of bordered up houses across the country and these should be prioritised for refurbishment as a matter urgency. Delays in this issue make no financial or moral sense.”

The Fianna Fáil leader also supported his party’s calls to reduce the construction industry Vat rates.

The measures have been rejected by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Sinn Féin has also alleged it is a return to the past.

Mr Martin also defended the confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael insisting it remained an opposition party holding Fine Gael to account.

Since May 2016, Fianna Fáil has opposed the issues it does not agree with but has used its influence to achieve progressive policies, he added.

Fake news

The party will gather in the RDS for a two-day conference on Friday night with motions on health, abortion and Brexit to be discussed.

A motion will be debated tonight calling on the ard comhairle, the party leadership and the parliamentary party to explicitly outline their view that “under no circumstances will Fianna Fáil enter a coalition government with Sinn Féin”.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams criticised the motion insisting it highlighted Fianna Fáil’s obsession with them.

Mr Adams said the party was putting the “narrow self-interests” of the Fianna Fáil leadership ahead of the country and the concentration of attacks on Sinn Féin is about trying to stifle alternative parties.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil members will be asked to challenge any bias it experiences in the media, in particular on social media.

In a booklet to be presented to every member, the party advises it must fight hard to counter fake news in this country highlighting the effect it has had in previous electoral cycles.

It says: “ If you see untrue and unfair attacks against us on social media, call it out and engage directly with those making the claims.

“Social media is also a good way to interact with national and local media broadcast programmes - if you see or hear bias or feel that the Fianna Fáil point of view is going unheard, tell them.”