Fianna Fáil to vote against SF motion on rent increases

Party dismisses motion as populist, seeks to push its own measures on the housing crisis

Fianna Fáil has met with Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to discuss measures to deal with the rental crisis.

The party has confirmed it will not support a motion tabled in the Dáil by Sinn Féin, seeking that rent increases to be linked to the Consumer Price Index.

Fianna Fáil's housing spokesman, Barry Cowen, was questioned about the party's stance during a frontbench meeting on Tuesday.

A number of deputies, including TDs Timmy Dooley (Clare) and Thomas Byrne (Meath), sought clarity on why the party was not proposing similar measures. Others raised concern that Sinn Féin was gaining ground on Fianna Fáil in this area.


Mr Cowen said the Sinn Féin motion was inadequate to deal with the crisis in the rental market. He said he had made a submission to Mr Coveney seeking a series of measures, which he said were a meaningful response to the crisis.

The Laois-Offaly TD said Sinn Féin was seeking to be populist while Fianna Fail was eager to enforce real change.

The party's housing spokesman was supported by TDs Dara Calleary (Mayo), Darragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal) and Charlie McConalogue (Donegal), among others.

Those who spoke insisted Fianna Fail should not be distracted by Sinn Féin but remain consistent in its position. The party has voted against the same motion twice before.

Rent change link

Sinn Féin's motion, to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday, calls for changes in rent to be linked to the Consumer Price Index. It is supported by the Labour Party, the Social Democrats and the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People before Profit.

Fianna Fáil’s submission to Mr Coveney favours rent certainty measures. However, the proposals want rent increases to be linked to an average local market rental index.

It is understood Mr Cowen sought a meeting with the Minister to insist on urgent action in this area, and that the discussion took place last night.

Mr Coveney will publish a strategy for the rental market in mid-December.

A new system of payments to middle-income families to subsidise the cost of high rents is being considered. It is anticipated that the payments will be aimed at households with a combined income of up to €55,000.

However, it is understood that income levels have still not been decided by the Government.