Labour TDs hit back after Fine Gael accuse them of objecting to over 10,000 new homes

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD and leader Ivana Bacik were among the party figures accused of objecting to housing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Philip Ryan

Labour Party TDs have hit back at Fine Gael over accusations they objected to more than 10,000 new homes in Dublin.

Fine Gael parliamentary party chair Richard Bruton issued a statement on the second day of Labour’s national conference in Cork naming elected members of the party who he said lodged objections to proposals for housing.

“By objecting to housing, Labour and other opposition parties are ensuring many families are locked out of the housing market,” he said.

Mr Burton said Labour leader Ivana Bacik lodged complaints about 894 homes, while his Dublin Bay North Labour counterpart Aodhan Ó Ríordáin made submissions regarding 807 homes and Dublin Central based senator Marie Sherlock took issue with plans for 2,995 homes.

Speaking at the Labour conference, Mr Ó Ríordáin said Mr Bruton was “playing men and women rather than the the ball”.

The Labour education spokesperson said Fine Gael councillors are “quite happy” voting against social housing and Traveller accommodation which he and his colleagues have never done.

He said Labour does not want private developers making “endless cash and profit” from housing before reconstituting their companies so they will not have to face questions about their “substandard properties” in years to come.

“This is absolute classic deflection tactics from Fine Gael who are the ones who have just voted to end the eviction ban,” he said.

Ms Sherlock said Labour supports plans to “build decent homes” and said Fine Gael want people living in “shoeboxes” and “slum housing”.

She said Fine Gael were putting out figures from the benefit of very comfortable houses with no consideration for what is actually been proposed by a number of developers for housing where some of it doesn't even have natural daylight in substandard floor areas below the regulations according to Dublin City Council.

In his statement, Mr Bruton said a study by his party of all proposed housing projects with Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála files since 2020 reveals the vast majority of Labour party representatives in the city council area have objected to or attempted to hinder the progress of at least 10,804 homes.

“This is equivalent to four years of new housing supply at current rates. It is hard to see how that serves their constituents’ interests in the midst of a housing crisis,” Mr Bruton said.

“The Government is focused on increasing housing supply with 30,000 homes built last year. More supply of homes to rent and homes to buy is the only solution to our housing crisis.

“It is hard not to see hypocrisy in attacking Government performance against this background.

“It is not surprising to see that their policy towards the rental sector is also driven by political expediency, not the interests of long term sustainable supply solutions for those who need to rent,” he added.