Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that the failure by the last Government to deliver real affordable homes for working people cannot be allowed to continue under the new administration. The Sinn Féin council group leader was speaking after Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Party voted down a major public programme to build affordable homes.
“The housing crisis hasn’t gone away, despite the lack of attention over the past few months. Delivering affordable homes and building social housing were the key demands made by the electorate earlier this year. The lack of affordable homes is hitting Waterford families hard, especially younger couples and families. There is a huge need for Government to step up and deliver homes that are actually affordable, however their unwillingness to do so is disappointingly predicable.
“The reality is that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were in power for four years and failed deliver any affordable homes to rent or to buy through any government scheme. Fine Gael did not publish any affordable housing scheme while leading the last government, and Fianna Fáil has not published any detailed policy on affordable housing – they can’t even decide on what is or isn’t affordable.
“The programme for government does not contain any affordable housing definitions, price points or targets. It is a copy-and-paste job from Fine Gael’s 2016 programme for government, and contains no new commitments.
“Its clear that neither Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael nor the Greens have any interest, not to mind ambition, to solve this issue. Its suits them to continue to use taxpayers money to subsidise the private rental market to the tune of €600 million, rather than investing in affordable homes and cost rental properties. Sinn Féin is the only political party to publish a detailed, costed policy on affordable housing. At its core the Sinn Féin plan seeks to build 100,000 affordable homes across the state, which would be built on public land.
“Many young couples and families are locked into the private rental market because of the failure by Government to invest in affordable housing. The irony is that in many cases their monthly rent equates to more than a mortgage payment. Meanwhile public land goes unused and rents climb higher. An ambitious public programme of house building is the only sustainable solution. Its beyond frustrating to see the establishment parties turn their backs on this proposal and on those trapped in a dysfunctional rental market that eats up their income and gives them little in the way of security.