“Build Houses! The simplistic, yet actual, solution to Ireland’s Housing Crisis” – Matt Carthy TD
“Only Fianna Fáil could come up with an affordable housing scheme that actually makes houses less affordable!”. So said local TD, Matt Carthy, when he addressed the Dáil during a debate on the government’s proposed ‘developer-led’ shared equity scheme amidst warnings that it will drive prices up even further.
He was speaking during a debate on a Sinn Féin Private Members Motion to scrap the scheme in favour of investing in social and affordable housing.
Deputy Carthy told the Dáil:
“The solution to the housing crisis is to build houses. That might sound simplistic, but it is the essence of what is required.
“The decisions of previous Fianna Fáil Governments to effectively stop building council houses is essentially the source of the situation that has resulted in the reality wherein most Irish people aged under 30 years watching this debate will probably never own their own home, provided Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael remain in power.
“What Fianna Fáil have pursued is essentially an outsourcing of housing policy. Thus when we hear Members from the Government side talking about investment in housing they do not mention that billions of euro of that investment has actually been spent on subsidising private landlords through rent supplement and HAP supports rather than through building houses. These rent interventions actually cripple other renters because they push the cost of the rental market up. That, in turn, forces house prices to increase, meaning those people who are renting private accommodation cannot save for a deposit, or even if they are managing to save something, they will never be able to afford the ever-increasing house prices.
“Sinn Féin’s solution is to actually build houses, supporting those who need access to council houses and providing real affordable housing schemes. This will contribute to easing rents in the private market and ensuring house prices return to a realistic and sustainable level.
“Fianna Fáil’s solution through this shared equity mechanism is yet another developer-led scheme. It has been rightly criticised by everybody who has objectively analysed it because it will increase the cost of housing.
“Only Fianna Fáil could come up with an affordable housing scheme that actually makes houses less affordable. This is the type of developer-led project that must stop now. The Government must see sense and adopt the policy provisions that have been put forward by Sinn Féin and start building houses.
Following the debate, Deputy Carthy commented that he had no doubt that developers would simply pocket whatever they could from the scheme, leaving buyers little better off.
He said: “The Central Bank, officials at the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, the ESRI, Green Party government TDs, and even Fine Gael councillors have called for this scheme to be scrapped – that’s a rare alliance of voices that should give the Minister pause for thought.”