News & Media

Housing and Homelessness crisis a shocking indictment of Government’s record- O’Sullivan

8 September 2019

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

The most glaring example of inequality in Ireland today is that of the housing and homelessness crisis, with the Government still failing to deliver adequate affordable and social housing.

That’s according to Labour Housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan, who says a new approach to the problem is needed. Speaking at the Labour Party’s national Think-in Cork today, Deputy O’Sullivan continued:

“It’s now over three years since Simon Coveney and Enda Kenny first launched ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ and pledged to make the housing crisis the Government's number one priority.

“Yet here we are, just about to start another Dáil term and the situation is getting worse rather than better.

“The latest homelessness figures show more than 10,000 people are now without a roof over their heads in this State- that’s an extra 3,750 people on the same period three years ago.

“What is so tragic is that this figure also includes nearly 4 thousand children; a shocking indictment of this Government’s record.

“No child should be living in a hotel at any stage of their lives and the impact on their emotional and physical development can’t be overstated.

“The private rental sector is continuing to virtually bankrupt families, forcing many into homelessness and making it practically impossible for others to save for a deposit for a house.

“Research has shown it’s now cheaper to pay a mortgage than to rent a starter and family home everywhere throughout Ireland, and it’s no surprise that seven in 10 renters believe they’ll never be able to afford to buy a home.

“The simple fact is that this Government is not building enough social and affordable housing to meet the demands of its citizens. There are still vacant properties littered around the country which could be turned around and made into suitable accommodation. And there is still land being hoarded by speculative developers looking to make an easy buck.

“We are not in ordinary times when it comes to the housing crisis and the State needs to take the lead in the provision of homes.

“Housing is a basic human need, not something optional. As such, a market approach to housing will inevitably fail, as it has failed in Ireland and elsewhere, again and again.”