Martin: SF trying to exploit housing crisis for political gain

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Government 'does not have a plan' and will 'sit on its hands'
Martin: SF trying to exploit housing crisis for political gain

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said 'an entire generation has been locked out of affordable housing'.

The Taoiseach has accused Sinn Féin of attempting to "exploit the housing crisis for political gain".

Micheál Martin made the charge during Leaders' Questions in the Dáil on Wednesday, saying Sinn Féin's plans on housing lack "substance".

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said "an entire generation has been locked out of affordable housing".

"It is no shock to those caught up in this crisis because they feel it in their pockets every day. We now have the first generation in their 30s and 40s who have it worse than their parents."

She said the Government "does not have a plan" and will "sit on its hands".

But not only do you not have a plan, you will block the ideas of others. How on earth can you say with a straight face that your policy does not support these funds? 

"What you have to do here is not rocket science. Get these funds to pay their fair share of tax, increase the stamp duty and stop them bulk buying properties.

"Is this why you led Fianna Fáil back into Government? To let Fine Gael call the tune on housing? You say housing is your number one priority but you've not done anything meaningful on housing."

He said the Sinn Féin motion would "not build a single home" and that Sinn Féin representatives had objected to large numbers of homes across Dublin.

"We have made real moves. That is substance. I don't see any substance in your plan. I won't be distracted by your sloganeering. We're simply not building enough houses or apartments at the current time and have not been for some time."

'Bluff and bluster'

Ms McDonald said the Government reached for "bluff and bluster" and said investment funds are "snapping up homes from under the noses of first-time buyers". She asked the Taoiseach when the Government will legislate to curb the purchasing of so-called cuckoo funds.

Ms McDonald called the Taoiseach's response "a disgrace", leading to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl to ask for "some decorum".

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said cuckoo funds have been "betting on this Government". She said the purchase of 135 homes in an estate in Maynooth in her constituency was a "catalyst for change".

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