There are just nine properties to rent in the entire county of Tipperary, and first-time buyers need €77,000 to buy a home, the Dáil has heard.
The housing crisis dominated Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Wednesday with Rural Independent TD Mattie McGrath saying it is “insanity” to pay developers up to €144,000 to provide homes and said the only winners of the crisis are the banks, developers, and investment funds.
Housing Minster Darragh O’Brien should “stop spoofing” about planned supports for aspirant home buyers, because they are really just a bailout for developers, Sinn Féin’s deputy leader said.
Mr O’Brien was taking Leaders’ Questions in place of Taoiseach Micheál Martin - who is in Davos at the World Economic Forum - locked horns with Pearse Doherty over plans to address the housing crisis.
Mr Doherty said a new plan will see the Government paying developers up to €144,000 per unit and said this harks back to the “bad old days” of the Galway Tent, a reference to Fianna Fáil’s previous links to developers.
Mr Doherty said because of Mr O’Brien’s inaction, people are falling into homelessness which he said is nearly back at record levels.
“Your plan is not working, minister,” he said.
“Enough of your spoofing, minister. House prices are going through the roof and entire generations are locked out of homeownership. Under your watch, rents are spiraling out of control and in many counties are increasing dramatically,” Mr Doherty told Mr O’Brien.
“What planet are you living on? Which families and workers can afford that amount of money? And who do you write the cheque to? You’re writing to the developers to the amount of €144,000. It is straight out of the playbook of Fianna Fáil right back to the time for the Galway tent,” Mr Doherty said.
In response, Mr O’Brien told noisy Sinn Féin TDs: “There's really no point in even trying to respond when you keep interrupting.”
He said Sinn Féin have tried to distort what the truth is and opposed plans. He added that the proof is in the figures in commencements.
“There's improvements happening. We're not there. And we know that we're being honest with people,” he said.
He also told Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae to “relax Danny” when he was responding to questions.
Mr O’Brien said the affordable housing schemes are open to all local authority areas including Kerry.