Longford Westmeath Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence, Deputy Sorca Clarke, has said that her political party’s proposals would make housing affordable again.
“Government is failing on housing. It has become unaffordable for most ordinary workers, while homeownership is out of the reach of a whole generation of young people.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to buy a home as the cost of housing has increased by 30 percent since 2016, while the cost of renting has increased by 44 percent in the same period.
“Here in the Midlands, house prices have increased by 6.7 percent in one year, the region outside of Dublin with the highest price increase.
“We need to get house prices under control after years of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s failure and give first time buyers - and others trying to secure a home - a chance.
“In Budget 2019, government allocated €300m to deliver 6000 affordable purchase homes by 2021. To date not a single affordable purchase home has been delivered from this funding.
“It does not have to be this way. Sinn Féin has the solutions to remedy successive failures and to take immediate steps to make housing affordable again.
“We need action now to ensure first time buyers and other working people are able to access affordable homes to rent and buy in both our suburbs, our cities and our towns and villages.
“An end to the tax breaks enjoyed by the vulture funds can be implemented immediately while changes to our planning laws will take longer to effect. To add serious insult to injuries inflicted by these funds on our citizens, it transpires that not only was the welcome mat decorated with tax breaks rolled out to greet them but taxpayers money was given to these vultures to allow them to price home buyers out of the housing market.
“We also demand an end to the sale or gifting of residential public land to private developers, to ensure that all homes on such land are social, affordable cost rental and affordable purchase.
“If the government takes on board our proposals, we can make housing affordable again,” Deputy Clarke asserted.
Defence Forces accommodation needs to improve
Meanwhile, Deputy Clarke has called on the Minister for Defence to examine the accommodation afforded to Defence Forces personnel with a view to providing more suitable living quarters.
“Over the last few decades we have seen a steady decline in the Defence Forces with accommodation which has suffered from underfunding and neglect.
“PDFORRA has called on the government to apply the same standards in Ireland with regard to accommodation as other militaries around the world apply to theirs. More specifically, the provision of suitable quarters for families is a key aspect of their demands.
“The provision of family-friendly accommodation is not only a key aspect of our duty of care towards our service members but it would also play a key role in stemming the tide in our high rate of turnover among personnel in the Defence Forces.
“While the Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces will address many issues we shouldn’t expect it to solve all of our problems. The issue of accommodation is one which we can tackle now if the will is there.
“We are at a crossroads now where there seems to be a general will to adopt new and forward-thinking policies with regards to our Defence Forces. We should move forward in that spirit and listen to our service men and women and meet their needs,” Deputy Clarke concluded.