FF, FG made home ownership ‘pipe dream for entire generation’ - McDonald

Eoin Ó Broin accused the Taoiseach of lying about his party’s housing policy

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have made home ownership a "pipe dream for an entire generation".

Her party’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has also accused the Taoiseach of lying about their party’s housing policy.

During heated exchanges in the Dáil on Wednesday, Ms McDonald pointed to the latest figures from Daft.ie which show the number of homes available to rent has fallen close to historic lows while rents have increased sharply.

Ms McDonald said other figures reveal cuckoo funds “courtesy of sweetheart tax deals” provided by the Government massively outbid ordinary house-buyers for family homes and then rent them back to those people “at extortionate rates”. She said affordability had gone “out the window” on Mr Martin’s watch and that the latest budget “did nothing for renters”.

The Dublin Central TD said the Government's rent caps "have been a failure" and that generation rent feels "battered, bruised, exhausted and sold out".

“Rip off rents rob a generation of the decent life and the ability to build their future,” she said.

Lying

In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said 33,000 homes were needed to be constructed on average per year until 2030 to satisfy demand as well a consistent housing policy that lasts over a decade.

He said supply was needed as quickly as possible and that private investment was required on top of the State’s investment.

Mr Martin said what was not needed is "serial objections as your party has", adding that Sinn Féin has objected to about 6,000 homes. He said this was "hypocrisy" and in contrast "to the huge crisis we have".

Mr Ó Broin shouted across the Dáil that he was “fed up with this Taoiseach lying about what Sinn Féin councillors are doing”. “They are downright lies,” he said.

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail said it was not acceptable to accuse any member of the House of lying and asked the Sinn Féin TD to withdraw the comments.

Mr O’Broin said that he would substitute “lying” for “wilfully misleading the House”.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said Ireland's young population are going to be condemned to continuing to pay "crippling rents" for the foreseeable future, with rents now 50 per cent higher than during the Celtic Tiger peak.

She said it was plainly obvious the rent caps aren’t working and most people believe “this is out of control” and that the housing solutions have been designed “really favouring cuckoo funds over the individual homebuyer”.

“That’s the obvious thing that is happening here,” she said. “Do you ever question that you could be getting this wrong?

“Fianna Fáil have got it wrong before. Do you ever question that you’re talking to the wrong people or you’re taking the wrong advice? Look at the evidence, look at rent, who can afford €2,000 a month…It’s only going to be a question of time before we see young people queuing up at the airport to leave this country and they’re going to be doing it because they can’t live in it. Housing is critical to that.”