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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 30 March, 2020

Social Democrats propose affordable homes at €200k and the end to commuter hell in election manifesto

Entitled ‘Invest in Better’, the party said the document sets out a uniquely Irish version of the Nordic model”.

Social Democrats Catherine Murphy
Social Democrats Catherine Murphy
Image: Leah Farrell

A RENT FREEZE, affordable housing, and greater public investment in childcare are among the proposals in the Social Democrats’ election manifesto launched today. 

Entitled ‘Invest in Better’, the party said the document sets out a uniquely Irish version of the Nordic model”.

Changing the Irish system is not about “re-inventing the wheel”, said party co-leader Róisín Shortall, who said other countries operate a lot different to Ireland.

Co-leader Catherine Murphy said that affordability has to be central to the Land Development Agency (LDA), stating that 100,000 homes should be built on public land. 

Murphy said these homes should cost in the region of €210,000. Mortgage repayments would be in the region of €700-€800, she said. 

She said the government is “throwing money rather than investing money in a solution” to the housing crisis, in the form of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). 

The party also commits to the full funding and implementation of Slaintecare, with Shortall stating that other parties are only paying “lip service” to its roll out. 

Improving work/life balance prioritising cycling and public transport, in a bid to tackle the commuter gridlock, is also central to the party.

“The sense that so many families feel, they feel they are only living to work,” said Shortall, who said no one has “time for themselves” or a break from the “stresses”. 

She said flexible work options, as well as an increase in parental leave, has been prioritised with the pressure of the Social Democrats, with Shortall welcoming that the government took on their idea of extending unpaid leave. 

“As we start a new decade, there has got to be a realisation that there is a better way of doing things. Too often in Ireland we have settled for second best – public services which are not the quality they should be.

“As social democrats, we fundamentally believe that meaningful strategic investment in public services is the best way to put real money back in people’s pockets on a daily basis by ensuring they don’t have to fork out for the basic services the State should provide such as health, childcare, affordable homes. This manifesto sets out a very clear, practical, path to deliver such a society,” said Murphy.

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