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'It's not that young people are squandering their wages on avocado toast' - Fianna Fail leader pledges housing priority

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Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin

A shared home ownership scheme, where the Government takes a stake in a person’s new home to reduce the purchase price, would be a priority of Fianna Fail in Government, said party leader Micheal Martin.

He made the pledge in a speech at the Ogra Fianna Fail National Youth Conference in Portlaoise tonight.

His party in Government would also launch a new Special Savers scheme  to help tenants save up a deposit to get out of the “rip off rent market.”

And he promised an €2bn affordable housing scheme to boost the supply of homes for ordinary workers.

Young people are being frozen out of the housing market and affordability has slipped further away from them. The fall in levels of home ownership among younger generations has been significant in recent years,  he said.

“The reason for this is not that young people are squandering their wages on avocado toast. Nor is it because they want to live with Minister Murphy in what he calls boutique-style hotels or what the rest of us call extortionate chicken-battery bedsits.

“The real reason is a failure of government policy. That policy has created an affordability crisis that reaches deep into every community but impacts upon young people the hardest,” he said.

He went on to say: “Tenants find themselves handing over unprecedented levels of cash despite the fact that paying a mortgage would be far cheaper. Even according to the Department of Public Expenditure’s own studies renters still overwhelmingly want to own their own home but can’t afford to.

“For the first time a generation risks being worse off than their parents. International studies show that millennials are financially worse off than their parents at the same age after housing cost are factored into account. Further worrying studies from Harvard show a sharp decline in young people’s faith in democratic institutions. The two go hand in hand.

“Each citizen must have a direct stake in the prosperity of the state for it to thrive and flourish.

“Opening up greater opportunities for home ownership and secure, affordable tenancies for young people is a vital part of that. We need to protect the integrity of the core promise of democracy that each generation can build on the success and prosperity of the last.

“This is why Fianna Fáil is committed to replacing this government’s record of failing to deliver with an absolute to deliver on housing,” he said.

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