Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the measures announced as part of Budget 2019 to address the severe deficits in social housing across the country were fought for during the party’s Budget negotiations with Government.
He said, “Since Fianna Fáil entered into the Confidence & Supply arrangement we have forced the overall capital budget in housing to increase from €430m in 2016 to €1.34bn in Budget 2019. This is a €900m increase or over 300%.
“Social homes are desperately needed and a major programme of social housing building is the only means of bringing them quickly on stream to alleviate the crisis in demand.
“Local authorities were set very ambitious targets for building social housing but to do have been heavily impeded by sheer bureaucracy in Government. During Budget negotiations we sought to triple the Local Authority discretion to from €2m to €6m.
“By cutting through red tape, Fianna Fáil has facilitated Local Authorities to by-pass planning hoops in the Department of Housing. Councils will now be in the position to build up to 30 social units without going through the drawn out 59 week, four stage process.
“This will ultimately ensure that badly needed units are delivered at a faster, more sustained pace.
"We worked hard to influence this Budget process by pushing for greater capital to build social housing but the time for delivery is now. That onus is on the Housing Minister and his Government colleagues.
“The measures announced as part of Budget 2019 are not enough alone to solve this emergency but by applying even more pressure over the coming weeks this Government might finally begin to wake up,” he concluded.
Responding to today’s Budget 2019 announcement, Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien, the party Spokesperson on Housing has said, “The scale of the emergency in housing represents the most critical challenge facing our country.
"An immeasurable number of perspective homeowners are skimping and saving for a deposit, to be left renting at extortionate costs. It’s hardly the vision that any of us imagined for the generations to come. The true strength of a State rests on every citizen having a clear stake in it and owning your own home is the most direct way of bridging that link.
“Securing an affordable housing package over €300m, to be rolled out over the next three years, will provide approximately 6,000 new homes nationwide which will be made available by eligible first time buyers. Our party makes no apologies for fighting for the establishment of an Affordable Housing Scheme in today’s Budget.
“I am pleased that despite the Fine Gael’s failure to support our Dáil motion earlier this year, that today they have recognised the potential of a comprehensive Affordable Housing Scheme.
“Today marks a breakthrough in achieving An Ireland for All and will give hope to working people. The work towards restoring the dream of home ownership for an entire generation needs to begin immediately.”
- BusConnects plan would let down communities in the North County if introduced -
Local Fianna Fáil TD and Housing Spokesperson , Darragh O’Brien has said that the BusConnects plan to transform Dublin Bus services would leave residents in Fingal without essential direct routes and decrease the frequency of many others in the county.
The Deputy was speaking in Dáil Éireann during yesterday’s debate on his party’s Private Members Business motion calling for a review of the plan and for amendments to be made to better support North Dublin bus passengers.
“I want to be very clear that there are positive aspects of this plan including the investment of €1.2 billion which is undoubtedly needed to improve the creaking public transport network in our capital city. That being said there are some valid public concerns regarding the BusConnects proposals.
“Dublin Fingal has a population of just below 300,000 people – thousands of those people are commuters.
“The number 33 bus which currently serves the major growth areas of Balbriggan, Rush, Lusk and Skerries is to be scrapped. The existing direct buses connecting Donabate, Skerries and Kinsealy to the city centre will be shelved.
Direct bus services from Malahide will be reduced by 25%, while Seabury will be left without a direct bus into the city entirely.
“These potential dramatic and regressive changes are causing fear among Fingal resident. That was most apparent at each of the public meeting I have held across the county. This is a quality of life issue. It is about how people get to work, college, hospital appointments and school.
“If the BusConnects plan as it stands was to be implemented in the morning, it would be an unmitigated disaster for services on many routes.
“Now that our party motion has passed in Dáil Éireann I am hopeful that the final BusConnects plan presented following public consultation will better reflect the transport needs of Fingal communities,” he concluded.
-Government has launched six separate housing plans since 2011-
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said the Government’s repeated announcements of housing plans are causing publicity fatigue among those most in need of a home.
Deputy O’Brien was commenting following this morning’s launch of a new land agency that aims to build landbanks across public and private lands for housing development. The agency forms part of the Project 2040 plan announced last February.
Many of the schemes have already been previously announced as part of the six separate housing plans Fine Gael has launched since 2011 Construction 2020, Social Housing Strategy 2020, Re-Building Ireland 2016, 2012 Capital Plan, 2015 Capital Plan & 2018 National Development Plan
He said, “This new agency bears a lot of similarity to the Land Aggregation Scheme set up in 2010 and the role of the Housing Agency subsequently set up in 2012. This begs the question will these new agency actual deliver new units or is it simply old wine in new bottles?
“The Government is publicity rich and delivery poor. All the while, ordinary people are left struggling to buy their own home or languishing on public housing waiting lists. We have all grown tired of the years of announcements of claims to overcome this crisis in housing.
“For the Government’s own target of delivering one third affordable homes to be met, it must be backed up by an Affordable Housing Purchase Scheme.
“This means providing homes in the areas most affected by the lack of affordability, at a cost of €160,000. These houses should be available foremost to those with an income between €30,000- €80,000 given that this is the bracket struggling to afford homes in places like Dublin and Cork.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to pressing for such a comprehensive scheme in the upcoming budget.” Deputy O’Brien concluded.
Local TD and Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien has said the failure to meet the affordable housing needs of perspective home owners in the North County is crippling families locally.
“Fingal is the fastest growing county in Ireland and not only do the young families moving here have to scramble for a school place for their children; they have to face the prospect of never being able to afford to leave the rental market,” he said.
“Fianna Fáil’ introduced a Dáil motion back in May to address the ongoing crisis and which called for the establishment of an Affordable Housing Scheme but was shot down after Sinn Féin and Fine Gael joined forces to vote against it.
“Sinn Féin elected representatives have had the audacity to spout about the chronic shortage of affordable homes this week when they in fact blocked the very means to kick-start the development of homes.
“The real truth is that they and their party colleagues voted against the Fianna Fáil proposal of an Affordable Housing Scheme by teaming up with the Government party to block it in Dáil Éireann.
“It’s becoming increasingly more apparent that neither Sinn Féin nor Fine Gael are remotely interested in following through on the commitment to expedite the delivery of affordable homes.
"The establishment of an Affordable Housing Scheme is an absolute priority for our party and we will be pushing for it to form a part of this years Budget.
He concluded, “It’s a complete and utter contradiction to suggest that they are eager to support working people wishing to purchase their own house. It’s time they realised that the lives of young people and families in the North County are far more important than playing party politics.”
- The private rental sector across the country has become wholly unsustainable -
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that immediate dramatic changes are needed to strengthen and enhance Rent Pressure Zone System.
The latest Daft.ie Housing Report published today indicates that the average price of rent nationwide has risen by a further 12.4% since June.
Deputy O’Brien said, “Today’s report exposes the fact that for nine quarters consecutively a new record, higher than previously ever recorded has been reached in the price of rent in Ireland’s main cities.
“An over 20% rise in the price of rent in Limerick city in just 1 year, a 16% increase in rents over the same period in Galway while in Cork, the monthly cost of rent rose by 13%. How many more months will go by and record high’s be reached in the already colossal price of rent for this Government to act?
"Those of us so fortunate to have stable or permanent housing can only imagine how disheartening the price of rent must be for graduates coming out of University or those that once emigrated, who are wishing to come home to Ireland.
"It also goes without saying that those forking out these costs in rent must be incredibly stressed trying to pay domestic bills or other living costs and possibly childcare on top of it. It's hindering so many from being able to save when everything they earn in a month is going straight back out.
“An entire generation are trapped in a rip off rental market with zero hope of buying because of Fine Gael policies while Sinn Féin stands on the side-lines voting against affordable housing.
“This Government’s measures on Rent Pressure Zones are not working; it’s as simple as that.
“It is categorically clear from both today’s report and all of the anecdotal evidence we have heard over the past 18 months that the Taoiseach and his Housing Minister need to dramatically change its approach to control the price of rent in this country.”