Speaking in advance of the Social Democrats ‘No Confidence’ motion in the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy TD to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday evening, 3rd Dec, co-leaders Catherine Murphy TD and Róisin Shortall TD outlined 10 immediate actions a new Housing Minister should undertake.

Catherine Murphy TD said: “Our motion on Tuesday evening aims to call a halt to the policies being pursued by this Minister and this Government in their failed attempts to address the housing emergency. Their policies have failed. The Minister has failed. It is time for a radical rethink and a ‘war footing’ approach to tackling this crisis.

“As a start, we believe there are 10 immediate actions that a new Housing Minister should take in rethinking how to address the plight of people seeking a home they can afford to rent or buy or those who face homelessness.

“These include establishing a proper Housing Delivery Agency, prioritising the delivery of homes that are affordable to buy or rent, including urgently developing an affordable purchase scheme and a cost rental scheme. Land use is crucial, from using public land banks for affordable housing to tackling land hoarding and vacant land. And its long past time to end the favourable tax treatment for REITS and Cuckoo funds. We have to put the interests of our people ahead of the interests of international capital.”

[Full list of 10 immediate actions is below]

Co-leader Róisín Shortall TD, calling out the Government and Fianna Fáil spin that the motion would precipitate a Christmas General Election said:

“Our motion is clear – we have no confidence in Eoghan Murphy TD as the Housing Minister. We expect opposition TDs across the Dáil to stand by their pronouncements of the failure of Rebuilding Ireland and a failure by this Housing minister to get to grips with the housing emergency.

“Our motion seeks to change the Housing Minister and reboot how our Government tackles the housing affordability and homelessness emergency in which the country is mired. Homes are not commodities, to be governed by ‘the market’. The Government approach is just wrong. The housing emergency they are presiding over threatens the social and economic welfare of people and communities throughout the country. It’s time for this Minster to go.”

ENDS
2nd December 2019

SocDems List of 10 immediate actions a new Housing Minister should undertake

  1. Establish a Housing Delivery Agency with proper, powerful teeth and targets in place of the proposed weak Land Development Agency
  2. Prioritise public land banks for housing that is affordable to buy or rent and for social housing
  3. Allow Approved Housing Bodies to borrow off the Government Balance Sheet
  4. Develop and fund a proper affordable purchase scheme
  5. Urgently design and adequately fund a cost-rental scheme (the Vienna model)
  6. Implement a nationwide Rent Freeze for at least two years, strengthen renters’ rights and outlaw unfair practices by rogue landlords
  7. Incentivise the use of vacant homes, including reform of the Fair Deal Scheme
  8. Implement an effective Vacant Land levy with no loopholes and tackle land hoarding with tax on serviced land zoned residential
  9. Abolish all special tax benefits for REITS or the so-called ‘Cuckoo-funds’
  10. End the over-reliance on the Housing Assistance Payment by building more social housing.