Rory Hearne, the Social Democrats’ European Elections candidate for Midlands-North-West, outlined how the housing crisis is impacting County Kildare at a public meeting last night.

Mr Hearne made his comments during a discussion on housing solutions, which he hosted in Maynooth. It was also attended by Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns, Kildare North TD, Catherine Murphy and Alex Balfe from Maynooth Students’ Union. The meeting was chaired by Peter Melrose, the party’s local election candidate in Maynooth.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Hearne revealed some stark statistics around Kildare’s housing crisis.

He said:

“There were 1,130 households evicted in Kildare alone in an 18-month period from Q3, 2022 to Q1, 2024. That figure includes hundreds of families who have to uproot from their homes and try to find a new place to rent – or are being forced into homelessness or hidden homelessness.

“When someone is evicted in Kildare, they face completely unaffordable rents. The average rent in Maynooth is currently €1,705 per month and €1,555 in Naas.

“This explains the huge increase in the number of adults who cannot move out of the family home. Based on Census 2022 figures, there are now 26,669 adults living with their parents in Kildare, yet these adults are not included in the county’s housing plan. Because they are not assessed in terms of housing need, we see a completely inadequate response in terms of affordable housing delivery, with just 89 cost rental and 19 affordable purchase homes delivered in County Kildare in 2023.”

Mr Hearne also told the meeting he believes that MEPs can, and should, play their part in solving Ireland’s housing crisis.

“It is a cop-out for MEPs to say they cannot use their platform in Europe to address the issue of housing in Ireland. Time and time again, MEPs in other countries have used their influence to advocate on issues at home. However, up to now, this hasn’t been the way Irish MEPs have used their position.

“If elected, I intend to raise the issue of the Irish housing crisis at EU level, to increase funding coming from Europe into housing and to hold the Irish Government to account for the housing crisis in Ireland. I will put forward solutions that can fix the housing crisis once and for all.”

Speaking at the Maynooth meeting, Holly Cairns said:

“The figures outlined by Rory tonight are bleak and lay bare the human cost of the housing crisis in Kildare. That is why we need more expert voices like his representing the people of Midlands-North-West in the European Parliament.”

Catherine Murphy, the Social Democrats TD for Kildare North, said:

“Given that Kildare is a very popular commuter belt county, demand for homes to rent or purchase has never been higher.

“Under this Government, we have seen an over-reliance on the private sector to solve our housing crisis instead of the delivery of direct build social, affordable and cost rental homes.

“It is clear that it is going to take a change of Government to undo the damage caused by years of ineffective housing policy.”

April 30, 2024

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