A public meeting in Loughrea this week has heard that the political will is missing to resolve the housing emergency.
The well attended meeting was chaired by Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell and addressed by Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin.
Those in attendance heard that that large-scale delivery of social and affordable housing is needed to drive down house prices and rents.
Speakers also argued that the private market will not deliver affordable homes for the vast majority of people, and that it is time for the State to ramp up its direct delivery of new homes.
Sinn Féin’s representative in Galway East Louis O’Hara spoke at the event, saying that people are trapped into paying sky-high rents while their hopes of homeownership slip even further out of reach.
Speaking following the meeting, O’Hara said that this is confirmed by the latest Daft.ie report, showing that house prices in Galway are up 17% compared to this time last year.
The average price of a home in County Galway is now €263,000, and €353,000 in the city.
“The Government continue to implement the same failed private sector led approach of the previous government,” said O’Hara.
“Their target of 75 affordable homes per year for all of Galway City and County is nowhere near what is needed to address this crisis and pro-developer schemes like the Shared Equity First Home scheme will only inflate house prices further.”
He said that to help renters through this crisis, there must be a ban on rent increases on all existing and new tenancies.
O’Hara added that the Government needs to put money back in renters’ pockets through a refundable tax credit worth a month’s rent.
“The key message from this meeting was that the solutions to this crisis are there, all that is missing is the political will to introduce the kinds of policies that will reverse these trends,” he said.