Dáil unexpectedly passes SF motion seeking Dublin affordable housing for €230,000

Vote passed after the Government appeared to forget to back its own countermotion

The Dail has unexpectedly passed a Sinn Fein motion on affordable housing after the Government apparently failed to vote on its own countermotion.

The Sinn Fein motion, which is non-binding, calls for affordable housing to be delivered with a maximum cost in Dublin of €230,000 and less outside the capital and with monthly rental costs of €700 to €900.

It also called for capital investment to be doubled with €2.8 billion spending on public housing every year with 20,000 affordable homes constructed annually.

The Government apparently failed to move its own countermotion, no vote was recorded and the Sinn Fein motion was passed.


The single most important thing the Government can do to address the housing crisis is to “dramatically increase capital investment”, the Dail was told.

Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin said that to make a serious dent in the affordable housing crisis the Government must spend €2.8 billion annually to build 20,000 social and affordable homes each year for the next five years.

The structure of financing and delivery should be based on an average purchase price in Dublin of €230,000 and less elsewhere with average rent of between €700 and €900 a month.

He was speaking as he introduced his private member’s motion on housing. Government policy, he said “has allowed big investors to swallow up increasing volumes of limited supply of family homes, denying thousands of people from owning their own homes and forcing them to rent at extortionate prices well into the future”.

Minister of State Peter Burke told TDs €620 million has been made available for affordability measures and homes will range from €160,000-€310,000.

Local authority-led direct build affordable housing “will be the central plank of the Government’s plans”, he stressed.

He was speaking as the Government met to consider proposals to deal with the controversy over funds snapping up estates.

Earlier Taoiseach Micheal Martin called for the support of the Opposition to pass legislative measures expected to be introduced in the Dail on Wednesday night to combat investment funds outbidding first time buyers.

He was responding to Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald who warned that the Government must end “all sweetheart tax arrangements enjoyed by these institutional funds”.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced he will impose a 10 per cent stamp duty on purchases of 10 or more residential homes.

Ms McDonald had warned that the stamp duty charged for multiple homes should be more than 15 per cent because Britain had it set at that rate and had to raise it again because it was insufficient to combat multiple purchases.

She also warned against exempting apartments from the Government’s measures, otherwise half of all homes built in Co Dublin would be excluded as would six out of seven homes overall.

During the Dail debate on affordable housing Mr O Broin said the cause of the housing crisis is “an over-reliance on the private sector - developer-led planning, developer-led taxation and developer-led delivery”.

Sinn Fein Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said that since 2012 house prices have doubled and since 2016 they had jumped by 30 per cent with rents rising by 44 per cent. He said that in his Donegal constituency rents rose by 7 per cent in the past year alone.

Labour TD Duncan Smith said there was huge anger out in the community which would continue and the crisis meant that a lost generation for whom home ownership was out of reach, was in danger of becoming two lost generations.

Social Democrats housing spokesman Cian O’Callaghan that what was lost in determining policy “is a realisation of the huge human cost that housing unaffordability has” and the heartrending stress and anxiety it causes.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times