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Doherty and Martin having a right old row in the Dáil today.

'You’re all sound, noise and fury with no substance': Martin and Doherty clash over housing

Doherty said the government had “failed spectacularly” on home ownership, homelessness and affordable housing.

THERE WAS A heated exchange between Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Tánaiste Micheál Martin over housing today, with the government’s affordable housing targets were accused of being “pathetically low”.

During Leaders’ Questions, Sinn Fein finance Doherty highlighted how the latest Residential Property Price Index, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), found that the cost of a home is now higher than it was during its peak in 2007.

Doherty said the government had “failed spectacularly” on home ownership, homelessness and affordable housing.

Responding, Martin said Sinn Féin had “no substance” in the area of housing and questioned where their detailed plan for solving the housing crisis is. 

He said Doherty operated in “soundbites” and warned the public not to support a party that has pledged to scrap the Help-to-Buy scheme, the shared equity scheme and vacant home grants. 

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Doherty said it was not a soundbite to say that “runaway house prices” have surpassed rates seen in the Celtic Tiger era and have “locked entire generations” out of home ownership.

He also rounded on the Tánaiste, questioning why the government has yet to publish the final data on social and affordable housing delivery for 2023, stating that the government knows that they have failed to reach their targets. 

Instead, Martin said that 22,000 social housing units had been built between 2022 and 2023, and 33,000 houses were delivered last year. He did not address where the most recent figures are. 

Criticism was levelled at government when it published its latest Housing for All progress report as it did not contain final delivery figures for social and affordable units.

He said there have been 2,600 approvals already under the First Home scheme and that 26,000 mortgage drawdowns last year – the highest since 2007.

The Fianna Fail leader then said Sinn Fein did not have a housing plan, adding: “You have a few pages stitched together.”

Martin accused Sinn Fein of not really wanting change.  

He said:

“It is the oldest soundbite in elections: ‘Vote for change’.

“And I would warn people not to vote for the abolition of the Help to Buy scheme, don’t vote for the abolition of the vacant house grant or the derelict house grant.

“Don’t vote for the abolition of the First Home Scheme, don’t vote for abolishing key supports for first-time buyers in this country who want to own their own home.”

In response, Doherty said there was a housing disaster under the watch of the government, adding that it was “clear” there would be no change from the Tánaiste’s party adding:

“It’s not a soundbite for the 21,000 people who packed their bags and decided to go to Australia because they feel that they have no hope in this country anymore.

It’s not a soundbite to point out the reality that an entire generation is locked out of homeownership.

The Tanaiste replied: “And where the hell is your plan? You’ve produced nothing in four years. Three pages in a 52-page budget document, three pages on housing.

“Where is your plan, deputy? You’re all sound, noise and fury and you have no substance on any of this.”

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