Data received through Freedom of Information requests made to each of the 31 Local Authorities and collated by Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien has found that Fine Gael led Governments have spent close to €1bn of tax payer’s money on purchasing homes from the private housing sector since 2011.

The average cost of a unit purchased was €162,000, rising to €221,000 in Dublin.  According to the Department of Housing’s own figures, it would have cost €22,000 less (€199,000) to have built an entirely new unit in Dublin during the same period.

In Cork, the average price paid for a unit was €191,000 but to have built a new home would have saved €36,000 of tax payer’s money, costing a total €155,000.

Ireland’s Local Authorities have built just 2,354 new units since 2011.

Deputy O’Brien said, “In the midst of the worst housing crisis to have gripped the country, the right wing orthodoxy of Fine Gael has prevented the sort of response needed to deal with the crisis.

“This data has revealed that Government has spent just short of €1bn in tax payer’s money to purchase 5,559 homes, pricing families trying to buy their own homes out of the market without adding to the national stock.

“Not only has the FG plan driven up house prices generally but in many instances it would have been significantly cheaper for the State to build new social homes.

“Take Dublin for example; it would have been €29m less expensive to build the same number of units than the Government chose to buy instead. It would have been over €17m cheaper to build the same amount of units in Cork.

“This sad narrative is the very same in every county up and down the country; no vision whatsoever to bring new housing stock on stream and a severe overreliance on the private sector.

“Affordable housing needs to be at the core of the forthcoming Budget and we will fight hard to force FG towards adopting a Comprehensive Affordable Housing Scheme.

He concluded, “Fine Gael need to realise that this crisis requires them to set aside their orthodoxy and invest in new stock real affordability measures.”