Failed Government housing policy is having a major impact on the physical and mental health of families, according to Rory Hearne, the Social Democrats’ Midlands-North-West candidate in the European Elections.

Mr Hearne, who is a housing campaigner, author and lecturer, said:

“Today’s ESRI report lays bare the human cost of the housing crisis. The study finds that the longer time spent living in inadequate housing leads to more negative wellbeing outcomes for parents and children.

“According to the report, mothers experiencing inadequate housing and poor-quality neighbourhoods tend to have higher levels of depression, worse self-rated health and find parenting more stressful, as well as reporting greater conflict and less closeness with their children.

“I have been highlighting the issue of poor standards in housing for many years. In my book on the housing crisis, I specifically recommended increased investment in refurbishing substandard housing.

“It is private renters, those on lower incomes, one-parent families, disabled people, the elderly and other vulnerable groups who are most affected by poor housing.

“This results from a failure of successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fail governments to ensure proper standards in the private rental sector or invest in higher quality social housing.

“Retrofitting homes is one key area that can improve housing conditions, making them warmer and more energy efficient.

“However, the Government’s retrofitting plans are completely inadequate and are mostly dependent on individuals paying for much of the work themselves. This will do nothing to help improve overall housing standards and address the issues raised in the ESRI report. It is also deeply unfair that private renters are excluded from the State’s retrofitting programme.

“Meanwhile, the Government consistently misses its already inadequate targets for the delivery of social housing and continues to lock an entire generation out of home ownership.

“As an MEP, I would push at EU level for increased targets in retrofitting and additional funding to ensure that private renters, those in social housing and lower income households can attain properly retrofitted homes that are warm and efficient.

“I am standing in these elections to put housing top of the EU agenda, including a new affordable housing plan for Europe that will help Ireland solve its housing crisis.”

May 30, 2024

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