‘People need solutions now, not in 10 years’: TDs respond to housing plan

Government TDs hope improvements in housing will aid election next campaign

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the Government will face trouble at the next election if there are no solutions. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the Government will face trouble at the next election if there are no solutions. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

 

The Government has, at most, just over three years to show that its Housing for All plan has turned the tide in tackling the housing crisis.

Sinn Féin is poised to seize upon any missed targets as it seeks power in the next election, due at the latest in early 2025.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party candidates will want to face voters with the heat taken out of the housing debate.

The Government’s plan expects to hit a key target of delivering 33,000 new homes – the number deemed necessary to meet demand – for the first time in 2024. That is just before voters go to the polls if the Coalition runs to full term.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary Fitzpatrick, who intends to run for the party in Dublin Central said the plan’s success will be “key” to winning a seat there and would “certainly help” in reviving the party’s fortunes across the capital.

She said the plan shows the “clear difference” between a Fianna Fáil-led Government and those that preceded it.

Ms Fitzpatrick criticised a lack of social and affordable housing built for more than 10 years in the northside constituency. She said the plan will see the State “front and centre” in the delivery of social housing.

Wicklow Green Party TD Steven Matthews said housing is the “most critical and immediate issue” Government needs to address. Mr Matthews said affordability, rent prices and long commutes came up repeatedly at the doors in the last election. He said the plan will provide housing “at the right price and in the right place.” He said he believes he will be able to return to the doorsteps in the future having kept his commitments on housing.

Green Party TD Francis Noel Duffy said that tackling the housing crisis was as important as climate action to him.

He said: “You can’t have people living in hotels” adding that the Government “has to deliver”.

Mr Duffy, a Dublin South-West TD said he would highlight what he claimed as Green wins in the plan with voters including the introduction and ramping up of the cost-rental housing model.

Fine Gael Dublin Mid-West TD Emer Higgins said that her party “probably lost a lot of support” ahead of the last election among people whose children were priced out of homeownership.

‘Critical issue’

She said such people were “absolutely” being listened to. She said housing is a “critical issue” for Fine Gael, insisting the plan will increase supply and homeownership as well as help with affordability.

Fine Gael Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell said the plan “extends our existing commitments” on housing and “involves spending unprecedented levels of taxpayers’ money to make it happen.”

He expects housing to remain “the staple of political controversy” but said the Coalition are focused on delivery.

He conceded that there “certainly are political consequences should we fall short” but, he said, “Government’s success is my success” and he will play his part to make it work.

Mr Farrell said ideological opposition to what the Government is doing should be highlighted. He singled out Sinn Féin arguing it “can’t continue to oppose policy and legislation and then block – or attempt to – developments across the country.”

Sinn Féin Housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the party has never objected to any council development, just what he described as “sweetheart” land-transfer deals with developers.

Mr Ó Broin said of the housing plan: “Unless there are improvements year-on-year then this Government will be in trouble. People need solutions now, not in 10 years’ time.”