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Mary Lou McDonald describes affordable housing plan as ‘absolute failure’

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Mary Lou McDonald describes affordable housing plan as ‘absolute failure’

Mary Lou McDonald describes affordable housing plan as ‘absolute failure’
September 30
15:00 2021

A Government plan to build affordable housing has been described as an “absolute failure” after it emerged only eight homes will be delivered this year.

In October 2018, the Government announced its Affordable Housing Fund to deliver 6,200 homes to rent or buy over a three-year period.

The €310 million fund was to provide properties on local authority land.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said no affordable homes to rent or buy were delivered in 2019 or last year.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien confirmed in a parliamentary question to Sinn Féin’s Eoin O Broin that only eight affordable homes to purchase would be delivered by the end of this year.

Ms McDonald described the plan as “an absolute failure”.

She told the Dáil: “I think that’s a slap in the face to every person who’s in housing need across the state.

“I wanted to ask you, therefore, Taoiseach do you accept that this scheme has been an absolute failure? And can you explain to us how it is that you will only deliver eight affordable homes this year?”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the 2018 initiative did not lead to an affordable home provision.

“We were not in an Executive position to determine that or deliver that we are now,” he added.

“I’m very focused on delivering on the commitments within the Housing For All strategy now that we are emerging from Covid-19.

“Progress is being made in relation to a number of programmes, the first affordable homes will be developed in Cork this year, and the engagement has happened with local authorities to reform the service sites initiative schemes.”

However, Ms McDonald accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of “recycling failed policies” in its new housing plan.

The Dublin TD claimed the Housing For All plan caters for the interests of big developers, large landowners, institutional investors and not those in housing need.

Ms McDonald added: “You’re big on numbers, big on targets, and very, very low on delivery. That’s the reality.

“You know full well that so many are stuck paying massive rents, forking out as much as 2,000 euros a month.

“I don’t know how you put together a deposit for a house when you’re paying that kind of rent.”

Mr Martin defended the Government’s delivery of homes over the last 18 months, referring to the number of lockdowns and its impact on the construction industry.


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