A DONEGAL Deputy has hit out at the Housing Minister claiming he was unable to meet the ‘shockingly low’ housing targets he sets.
Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has set “shockingly low” housing targets and has still been unable to meet them.
Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Pringle said: “Not only are Minister O’Brien’s housing targets shockingly low, but they have not been met for three years in a row now. The fact that the Minister cannot even meet the incredibly low standard that he set for his Department is extremely concerning.
“This government, with the help of vulture funds, has made our country completely unlivable, not only for those looking to come here, but for those who actually already live here and are now forced into emigration,” he said.
Deputy Pringle also raised concerns about the increased threshold for social housing and said it will do nothing to help this situation in Donegal.
“People on €31,000 will not be eligible for social housing, yet there’s no way a bank would give them a mortgage either.
“Many people in my constituency would be within this income bracket and so many will never have the opportunity of having a house.
“The government is completely out of touch. The reality is that the housing crisis has affected every person in this country, whether they know it or not. The current shortage of nurses and teachers is a direct result of emigration caused by failed housing policies. The housing crisis has also contributed to the seemingly never-ending rise of the cost of living.
“A group in society who have been severely affected, and who are often overlooked, are the children of this country. Not only is their education suffering, due to a lack of available teachers, a recent study by the Economic and Social Research Institute found that the longer children are exposed to inadequate housing from birth to the age of nine, the more harm they experience. This is concerning given that 3,442 children are currently living in emergency accommodation.”
Deputy Pringle said: “It is clear that Minister O’Brien’s housing policy has not only failed in terms of affordability and supply, but also in terms of the well-being of our citizens, which should be the main priority of all policy in this country.”
The deputy was speaking in support of the Sinn Féin motion re Housing and Evictions.
He said: “I strongly believe that we need to bring a well-being focus to all future policy in this country and particularly to all future plans to tackle the housing crisis.
“I have been calling on the Government to introduce a significant tax on all derelict homes and Airbnbs for some time now. Portugal has proved that it is possible to do this. Under new housing plans put forward by the Portuguese government, all unoccupied houses will be forced onto the market at affordable prices and there will be no new licences given to Airbnbs or holiday rentals, except in less populated, rural areas,” the deputy said.
Deputy Pringle said: “I urge the government to seriously consider doing the same here, although you won’t. I also urge the government to extend the eviction ban as soon as possible – which you won’t, either – which this motion calls for and which I fully support.”
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