Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Billy Kelleher has said that business competitiveness is under attack from rocketing rent costs and a lack of affordable housing.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting as new figures show an unrelenting pressure on private rental costs across the country, but especially in cities and large urban areas.

“As rents continue to rocket and private home building remains sub-demand, this crisis is only going to get worse. Employees are seeing their wages being swallowed by up fixed costs such as rent and insurance costs.

“With rents continuing to rise, workers will require pay rises just to pay rent and live. This will depress the competitiveness of Irish businesses, and businesses located in Ireland.

“We have seen queues of students, young couples and overseas workers outside apartments and home to rent. The craziness has started again, and unless we nip it in the bud, we risk damaging our competitiveness even further.

“This cannot continue. The housing crisis is risking our economy’s very viability, and unless the Government accepts the basic economic principle that until supply matches demand, rents will continue to rocket.

“There is simply a lack of capacity in all areas of the residential housing market. Until more units are built for rent or for sale, we will continue to see queues of people clambering to get a foot on the housing ladder.

“The process of building housing in this country is simply too bureaucratic. We need to actively look at the planning process to speed up the delivery of housing.

“It’s true that the Irish economy is growing. However, unless the lack of availability of affordable housing is addressed, it will stop growing.  It’s time we got on top of it. Otherwise, we risk losing jobs and thereby limiting the ability of our State to invest in vital public services concluded Kelleher.