Tuesday 22 May 2018

Micheal Martin attacks ‘shocking’ Dublin rent rises and Taoiseach ‘complacency’

Fianna Fail’s leader spoke of the findings of a new report showing housing rents at an all-time high.

A housing development in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
A housing development in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

By Deborah McAleese, Press Association

Opposition leader Micheal Martin has said a new report on housing rents makes for “very dismal and depressing reading.”

He said that over a number of years the rental increase in Dublin has been “shocking” and warned it is having a “huge impact on people.”

Mr Martin also accused Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of complacency in his approach to the country’s housing crisis.

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Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Fianna Fail leader was speaking during a debate in the Dail about the findings of the latest Daft.ie report which showed that rents were at an all-time high.

Mr Martin said that behind all the figures were human stories.

“Many families are under threat of eviction and are extremely worried, having been given deadlines by landlords to leave their properties because they need to renovate them or give them to family members.

“Many families are now doubling and tripling up, as we know from our clinics.

“There are people coming in who are living with their parents or siblings and so on. There are young people getting their first jobs in cities and 40% to 50% of their income is going on rent. The student experience is becoming hazardous,” he said.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Martin also criticised the Taoiseach for being unable to recall the recommendations from a Department of Finance report in September to help tackle the crisis.

He said it was extraordinary that none of the recommendations had been implemented by the Government.

When Mr Varadkar said he would have to look again at the report because it was published some time ago Mr Martin said his response was “very worrying”.

“That sums up the complacency around this issue of housing,” he said.

“These were the measures designed to retain, and increase the supply of, landlords in the market and he does not have a clue about them, coming in here. That sums up the complacency around this issue of housing,” added Mr Martin.

Mr Varadkar hit back and said: “I do recall the report. I am familiar with it but, obviously, if I am going to be asked detailed questions about the recommendations, I would have liked the opportunity to at least cast my eyes over the report again before speaking to it.”

He said the Government was “very aware of the impact that rising rents are having on many people.”

“In some cases they risk driving people into homelessness. In many cases people are required to pay a huge portion of their post-tax incomes in rent, thus leaving very little money for other costs, whether child care or the many other costs of living.

“We acknowledge absolutely that rising rents are having an enormous impact on people, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet,” added the Taoiseach.

Press Association

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