Budget 2020 has "failed to seriously address" the State's housing and accommodation crisis, and it is now time that An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar declare a National Housing Crisis Emergency.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway City East councillor, and the party's General Election candidate for Galway West, Ollie Crowe. He is also calling on the Galway City Council to lead housing development initiatives in the city through public and private partnership mechanisms, and to cease the practice of purchasing sites from developers, such as in the case of Radharc na Gréine on the Monivea Road.
"The council, while not of or in itself a property developer, can ensure an equitable distribution of newly commissioned homes are made available to the private buyer, affordable housing schemes and social housing obligations," he said.
Cllr Crowe said City Hall must "urgently" undertake a review of land ownership right across the city with a view to implementing public-private building programmes into the next decade.
He said "all options" must be examined, including rezoning opportunities of currently held lands; high density development and conurbations, with the appropriate integrated transport solutions; and rejuvenation and regeneration of underused areas of Galway.
He is also calling for a strategic review of city planning to ensure Galway is "forearmed, prepared and course corrected" for the demands and requirements of both living and working in 21st century Ireland.
"Homelessness, alarmingly high rents in the private rental market, a lack of social housing, and low availability of privately affordable properties," he said, "have created uncertainty of tenancy, endless financial, emotional distress, and frankly, a very bleak outlook for far too many Galway people and families."