With Ireland having the highest rate of under 30s still living with their parents in Europe, and with property prices in the State rising more than in any other advanced economy, the focus of the next government must be on tackling the housing crisis.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway West TD, Mairéad Farrell, who was speaking following the publication of two reports - one by the Bank for International Settlements and the other by the EU agency Eurofound - which showed that housing in the State is the second most expensive in advanced economies and that the number of Irish people aged from 25 to 29 living with their parents grew at one of the highest rates in Europe.
The Bank for International Settlements noted that property prices in the Republic have risen more than in any other advanced economy since the end of 2015. It also acknowledges that there is "preliminary evidence" showing that international investors are having an impact on local property prices. Dep Farrell says this is supported by data from the Construction Industry Federation which highlights that investment funds bought 95 per cent of all 3,644 apartments completed in Ireland during 2019.
"In Galway, we need affordable cost rental homes available to rent of between €500 and €700 per month"
The Eurofound report shows that between 2007 and 2017, the number of Irish people aged 25 to 29 living at home grew by more than 47 per cent - one of the highest rates in Europe - a rise of just more than 11 per cent over 10 years compared to an average rise of two per cent across the rest of Europe.
Dep Farrell said the "central focus" of the incoming government must be on delivering affordable cost rental homes. She said that whoever forms the next government must "commit to ambitious targets and the required funding" in order to roll out such accommodation and housing units. She pointed out that was government policy since 2014, "yet not one affordable cost rental home has been delivered".
"There are 50 under construction in Dublin but at €1,200 per month these are not affordable," she said. "In Galway, we need affordable cost rental homes available to rent of between €500 and €700 per month. The bottom line is that people can’t wait any longer. The policy is there, the sites are there, we just need a commitment from all parties that the funding and plan will be a priority."