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Dublin: 15°C Monday 15 August 2022

'Our great, great failure': President expresses anger over housing 'disaster'

He was speaking at the opening of a centre for homeless people in Kildare.

Image: PA (file photo)

THE PRESIDENT HAS described Ireland’s housing crisis as a “great failure” and a “disaster”. 

Michael D Higgins said the aspiration should not concern being “a star performer for the speculative sector” and should instead be focused on the building of homes. 

His remarks, made at the opening of a centre for homeless people in Kildare, comes only weeks after the number of homeless people in Ireland surpassed 10,000 for the first time since before the pandemic.

In a short recording of his address, by Virgin Media’s Zara King, he said he often asks himself “how republican is what we created” post-independence. 

He added that the housing issue could no longer be classed as a crisis but a “disaster”.

“Isn’t it something very much closer to the poor law system that we thought we were departing from,” he said.

“It’s a real challenge. I have taken as well to speaking ever more frankly in relation to housing because I think it is our great, great, great failure.”

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The president added: “It isn’t a crisis anymore, it is a disaster. I think we have to really think about meeting the basic needs of people in a republic.

“There are people who built homes and building homes is what is important. It’s not to be a star performer for the speculative sector internationally or anything else.”

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