Monday 21 January 2019

Government should be ashamed over housing

Young people are being locked out of the market, being neither able to rent nor buy homes. Photo: Stock
Young people are being locked out of the market, being neither able to rent nor buy homes. Photo: Stock
Editorial

Editorial

The Government appears to have become imprisoned within its own comfort zone so far as confronting the housing crisis is concerned.

With suitable aplomb, 'Rebuilding Ireland' was produced in 2016. Already it appears hopelessly inadequate in addressing the scale of need. The latest housing report today reveals a yawning chasm between the aspirational target identified by the Government and the number of homes desperately required. To address the deficit, some 50,000 homes - twice the number previously suggested - urgently need to be delivered. Young people are being locked out of the market, being neither able to rent nor buy homes. Multinationals have also signalled that future investment here could hinge on a response to the problem, which is eroding our competitiveness.

Yet neither Taoiseach Leo Varadkar nor Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy have given any reason to believe that they are prepared to take the leap of imagination necessary to bridge the reality gap that exists between their perception of the problem and the actual crisis. The numbers being built fall way behind what is needed today, let alone satisfying the demands of the future.

In fact, a snapshot of where we are now shows there has actually been a fall in the number of homes completed in the first nine months of this year, compared with 2016. This despite relentless promises that progress was being made.

It is time to get radical and embrace the high-density options demanded to satisfy the need for public sector housing, social and affordable, as well as private housing, student accommodation and housing for older persons.

Mr Murphy has so far said that he is "disappointed" at the number of homes built. Embarrassed or ashamed might be more appropriate.

The Government can take some quiet comfort from recent opinion poll ratings; but such leads could quickly count for nothing should an election be called and fought on the issue of housing.

Irish Independent

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