People Before Profit has tabled a No Confidence vote in the Minister for Housing Darragh O Brien. He is responsible for policies which have led to the greatest housing crisis in the state’s history.
The party is calling on all opposition groups to support the motion. The independents who regularly denounce aspects of the housing policy should also now put their money where their mouth is.
The charge sheet against O Brien and the wider government is a litany of failures.
He has failed to deliver adequate housing for a growing population. Just 647 new homes were built by local authorities in the first half of this year, and 11 local authorities built no houses at all
He has failed to halt the rise in homelessness. In October there were 11,397 people in emergency accommodation – the highest ever. Over 100 International Protection refugees are accommodated in tents, at the time of writing, in sub-zero temperatures
He has failed to give a clear commitment to end no-fault eviction during this housing crisis. The Minister’s temporaryeviction ban is seriously inadequate and will leave many tenants unprotected from eviction, including tenants at places such as Tathony House in Dublin 8, a multi-unit apartment complex in Rathmines, and St. Helen’s Court in Dún Laoghaire, who face imminent mass eviction, and will inevitably be followed by large numbers of evictions when the ban ends on 31 March 2023. Multiple landlords have exploited loopholes in the Tyrrelstown Amendment to carry out mass evictions, and the Minister failed to progress legislation to close the loopholes
He has failed to enact meaningful rent controls. A recent Bank and Payments Federation Ireland report shows rent in Ireland has increased by an average of 82% since 2010, four and a half times the EU average of 18%.
He has failed to act to provide housing from an estimated 166,752 vacant homes, of which 48,387 have been vacant for at least six years; over 22,000 derelict sites; and sites with full planning permission for 80,000 homes that are being hoarded by developers to keep house prices high
At the root of these failures is an ideology that housing should be left to the private market, dominated by landlords and property speculators. This is evident in the way that this government want to subsidise private landlords rather than build social housing. Annual State spending on rent subsidies to private landlords, such as housing assistance payment and the rent assistance supplement, and other private house leasing measures now exceeds €1bn, which will add no permanent housing to the state’s housing stock.
In the dying days of the parliamentary session of 2022, it is time to call out this failed housing policy.