Sinn Féin motion on building 20,000 social homes a year passed

The bill calls on the Government to double capital investment in homes
Sinn Féin motion on building 20,000 social homes a year passed

The Dáil passed the Sinn Féin motion on affordable housing after the Government did not vote on its counter-motion.

The Dáil has passed a Sinn Féin motion on affordable housing after the Government did not vote on its counter-motion.

The non-binding private members' bill calls on the Government to double capital investment in homes and build 20,000 social homes a year.

However, when it came to a vote to move the Government's counter-motion, no vote was recorded and the Sinn Féin bill was deemed passed.

The private members' bill was brought by the party's housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, who said that "there is no doubt our speculative, developer-led housing system is broken".

"This has to stop," said Mr Ó Broin. "It is time for Government policy to change and the most important thing Government could do to make this change is dramatically increase capital investment."

'Failed to deliver'

Mr Ó Broin's colleague Pearse Doherty told the Dáil that the Rebuilding Ireland strategy has failed to deliver affordable rental homes. He said the Government is "scrambling to fix a problem of its own making". 

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said he believes Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien is "not up to the task".

Junior housing minister Peter Burke responded that the Government will oppose the motion

"This Government believes that home ownership is good for people, for families, and for the State," said Mr Burke. "We have put home ownership at the heart of our housing policy and backed it up with the largest housing budget in the history of the State — €3.3bn."

He said that the Government's shared equity scheme will "turn Generation Rent into a generation which can afford to purchase its own home". 

He accused Sinn Féin of "silver bullet policies" and "cynical hysteria".

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins said that home ownership for her generation has become "a pipe dream" but she is glad to see the Government "work to change this". 

'People are angry'

Labour TD Duncan Smith said the answer is "public housing on public lands" and said that "people are angry".

"It's perfectly understandable why people are angry," said Mr Smith. "They see politicians object to housing — sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for dubious reasons. Some of those reasons might be very valid, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is purely to protect votes in their own backyard and that's the reality."

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