Housing spokesperson and local TD moves to explain why FF supported Dáil motion
AS Fianna Fáil prepared to dramatically vote against the Government by supporting a motion to declare the housing crisis a ‘national emergency’, the party’s spokesperson on housing and local TD, Deputy Darragh O’brien explained why.
In the Dáil debate on the issue that occurred on the same night as a huge housing protest called ‘Raise the Roof ’ outside Leinster House, Deputy O’brien said: ‘The scale and depth of the housing crisis represents the most serious challenge we face as a country today. Spiralling social housing waiting lists. The scars of homelessness pockmarking our cities. Renters struggling to find a place then scrapping together money to make ends meet. The dream of home ownership slipping away from a generation.
‘The crisis is everywhere. The State needs to step up, as it did in the 1930’s, to provide homes for its citizens.
‘This motion places housing front and centre on the political stage days before a critical budget. That’s exactly where it needs to be.’
He said: ‘The upcoming budget must be a housing budget. That’s why Fianna Fail is supporting the principles of this motion.’
Moving on to possible means of addressing the crisis Deputy O’brien said: ‘In declaring a national emergency we need to be clear about what specific powers are required. The recent Indecon report on a vacant home tax called for a major programme of compulsory purchase orders on suitable residential vacant properties. Equipping Local Authorities with the resources and clear powers to CPO properties would serve two purposes. First it would directly increase the number of units available for social housing. Secondly it would send a clear signal of intent to anyone speculating on a vacant property and incentivise its use. ‘
The local TD made the point: ‘The State has sufficient land for over 42,000 units. Far more if NAMA is included. The newly announced Land Development Agency has the potential to help manage land effectively and bring new units on stream. However it will not deliver units for years.
‘It once again comes back to delivery. Targets and allocations mean nothing if the units are not delivered.
‘The role of the State should not be relegated to a middle man for land sales. The State has to take the lead in direct build, supporting Approved Housing Bodies and launching a comprehensive affordable housing scheme.
‘We cannot leave it solely to the market. We need an efficient State that can deliver for its citizens in this most basic of areas.’
Deputy Darragh O’brien TD