Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has criticised Minister for Housing Simon Coveney for his failure to deliver on commitments contained in the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
Deputy Cowen made the comments following the publication of new figures by the Department of Housing which show that the Government has clearly not achieved an acceleration in the construction of new homes.
“It’s nearly nine months since the Government launched its Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to much fanfare. The plan recognised the seriousness of the housing crisis and put forward a comprehensive set of proposals to help boost the supply of new homes. However official figures made available by the Department of Housing clearly demonstrate that the Government is missing its own targets,” explained Deputy Cowen.
“The Housing Action Plan commits to the construction of 5,000 new social homes in 2017. However the figures contained in the Social Housing Status Report show that, at best, there will only be 1,000 new social homes constructed in 2017. This is alarming and shows that just 8,400 homes are likely to be constructed by 2020 despite the fact that 25,000 new homes are needed each year alone to meet demand.
“The Government also committed to developing large social housing projects in order to tackle the housing crisis. However there have been no new approvals of such projects since January 2016 according to figures made available by the Department of Housing. This suggests that momentum is being lost in the effort to deal with the housing crisis.
“Addressing the housing crisis must be a top priority for the Government. The lack of available housing is driving up the cost of living due to rising rents. Ultimately it is making it impossible for young families to secure their own home, especially when you consider that they are unable to save for a deposit given the exorbitant rents they are paying.
“The Government needs to get to grips with the housing crisis. Minister Coveney needs to accept that his plan is failing and that corrective action is needed. Internal difficulties in Fine Gael cannot be allowed to impact on the performance of the Government,” concluded Deputy Cowen.