The Government's unwillingness to introduce new enforcement rules on short-term letting and its willingness to be lobbied by Airbnb, shows it is "missing in action" when tackling "the multi-faceted aspects of the housing crisis".
This is the view of Social Democrats Galway City East councillor Owen Hanley, who was speaking after it emerged that the Government had "ignored expert advice" to introduce strong enforcement rules following lobbying by Airbnb during meetings with ministers.
According to Cllr Hanley, "many people who once lived in our city centre" are being "forced out" as their apartments are converted to Airbnbs. He said this causes knock-on effects as people are "forced into the suburbs" and apartments are "no longer seen as economically viable". This results in fewer apartments being built, and as city centres are "hollowed out" people are less likely to walk or cycle to work.
The proposed rental rules the Government rejected would have prohibited the short-renting of an entire property for more than 90 days, ensure the properties have the required planning permission, and would have introduced strict sanctions on sites like Airbnb for any violation of obligations.
Cllr Hanley accused the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, of "watering down" the original Government proposals, and of leaving "the burden on local councils", which are "still waiting for funding to oversee the new rules", but, unlike the Government, do not have the ability to "bring Airbnb to task for the negative impact they are having on an entire generation".