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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the Housing For All plan. Leah Farrell
not impressed

Opposition parties label government's Housing For All plan as 'unambitious'

Homeless charities welcomed the new strategy.

OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE branded the government’s Housing For All strategy as “unambitious” and accused it of relying on investors.

The plan, which aims to tackle the housing crisis, was unveiled by the government today. It aims to deliver 300,000 houses by the end of 2030, with over 33,000 per year being built by 2024.

The strategy pledges to build 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable purchase homes, 18,000 ‘cost rental homes’ (with rents below market value) and 156,000 houses being added to the private market for sale or rent.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the government has “failed to grasp the depth” of the housing crisis or scale the ambition that will be required to tackle it.

“There is still the same old thinking that leaves people with rents that are excruciatingly high,” McDonald told the Hard Shoulder on Newstalk.

“This government and the last one are very, very good at citing big figures over long extended timelines and bamboozling people with this.

“The reality is, as in Rebuilding Ireland (the previous plan), there were these big figures and they didn’t get delivered.”

Labour’s Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the plan “was heavy on aspiration but lacks ambition on State delivery.”

“The State should be directly providing at least 20,000 homes a year. That means a more direct role in the system as the private market has entirely different objectives on housing compared to the State,” Moynihan said.

With our population rising above five million, there is also a serious question mark about whether enough homes are being targeted on an annual basis. Some commentators have said up to 50,000 homes a year could be needed.

“I am very concerned at the reliance on incentivising investors in the private sector focused especially in the build to rent sector which will not deliver sustainable communities or secure housing,” Moynihan added.

Social Democrats Housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan said it has taken more than a year in office for Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to publish a housing plan that is “short on both ambition and imagination”.

O’Callaghan accused the government of failing to increase the delivery of social housing, of failing to introduce a vacant home levy and of falling short with its proposed land value sharing measure.

The reality is that this government has just one overarching idea to solve the housing crisis – increase exorbitant house prices even further.

“The Minister’s determination to proceed with a shared equity scheme, and his decision to boost subsidies for developers even further, is more evidence of the developer-led approach to housing that has created, and sustained, this crisis,” O’Callaghan said.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the plan is the “most ambitious programme of social and affordable housing delivery in the history of the State”.

The strategy was welcomed by homeless charities including the Peter McVerry Trust and the Dublin Simon Community.

The Peter McVerry Trust gave a “broad endorsement” of the strategy, describing it as a “progressive document that will move us closer to achieving a more sustainable housing system that works for all in society.”

The charity’s CEO Pat Doyle said: “We are delighted to see a target of 90,000 new social housing units under Housing for All. The availability of housing, and in particular one-bedroom homes will play a central role in tackling homelessness.”

Sam McGuinness of the Dublin Simon Community welcomed the plan’s committed targets to eradicate homelessness and deliver houses.

“As the market has evolved over the last number of years, we are pleased to see a focus on both housing supply and affordability and clear commitments to delivering homes for all,” McGuinness said.

“Attention now must be turned to the swift implementation of this plan within the given time frame to alleviate pressure on renters, first time buyers and those trapped in emergency accommodation.”

Additional reporting by Cónal Thomas

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