Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív has called for an urgent increase in housing units in Galway city, which is facing a critical shortage.
Around 3,000 new units are needed in the city to meet the current demand, however, Ó Cuív says that the number of new homes due to come on stream this year is miniscule.
Deputy Ó Cuív said: “People are coming into my office every week that are in crisis situations, and this is only a fraction of the number of people who urgently need assistance in securing a home.
“Despite the huge demand, and the announcement of promises, plans and strategies by Fine Gael, the number of homes being built by local authorities and private developers is not enough.”
The Fianna Fáil TD said that the local authority housing programme is ‘particularly disappointing’ with only 14 houses due for completion by Galway City Council in 2018.
“This poses serious problems for all on the housing list but also for those on the HAP scheme, many of whom would much prefer to have the additional security of moving into a local authority unit,” he continued.
“The current situation is hugely challenging, but is particularly difficult for people on the homeless list who do not know from week to week where they are going to be living. Families with young children want to be able to provide a stable environment for their children but the severe housing shortage is resulting in huge uncertainty for them.
“Fine Gael-led coalitions since 2011 have completely failed to grapple with this challenge and do not appear to appreciate the crisis, which is being experienced by families here in Galway and right across the country.
“This government needs to start thinking outside the box – local authorities should be given the same autonomy afforded to state agencies so that the need to refer each building scheme to the Department of Housing four times could be negated.
“This would reduce dramatically the amount of time that planning and approvals for new schemes take and would free up officials within the Department to concentrate on key policy areas.
“The housing crisis has now become a national emergency but there is no real leadership being shown by government.
“This laissez-faire attitude that the market would provide a solution to the issue is completely unacceptable and I will be continuing to put pressure on Minister Murphy to bring forward building projects to cater for demand.”