Government housing policy prioritises the interests of private developers and private profit

The Department of Housing has confirmed it is undertaking a review of its long-term leasing policy and targets, according to Social Democrats Councillor Aidan Farrelly.

In January, on foot of a motion from Cllr Farrelly, Kildare County Council wrote to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to raise concerns about the State’s over-reliance on long-term leasing to provide social homes.

Reacting to correspondence eventually received from the Department today, Councillor Farrelly said:

“We know Kildare is particularly vulnerable to a failed Government housing policy that prioritises the interests of private developers, and private profit, over value for taxpayers’ money and local decision making.

“Whether it’s the litany of Strategic Housing Developments throughout Kildare, REITs purchasing housing estates in Maynooth or the long-term leasing of social homes – it is clear we need a comprehensive review of Ireland’s housing policy.”

“The Department of Housing is outsourcing its responsibility to provide social housing to the private market – a reliance that has repeatedly let us down. In absolving itself of one its primary functions, it has chosen to instead place its trust in schemes that provide lucrative sweetheart deals for developers and investment funds.

“Earlier this week, it was revealed that nearly 33pc of new build homes are now bought by institutions – a clear sign that the State’s increased reliance on private leasing, at a time of record-high rents, is seriously distorting the entire market.

“The Department has confirmed its intention to review its leasing policy and I would urge it to undertake this review as quickly as possible. The housing crisis is continuing to deteriorate. Unless there is an immediate change of policy, it will get even worse.”

25 June, 2021


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