People Before Profit TD accuses Housing Minister of reneging on Programme for Government’s commitment to “Housing for All”
People Before Profit have slammed the latest draft, published today, of the Land Development Agency (LDA) legislation which contains only a “passing reference” to social housing and defines “affordable” as “below market price”.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD expressed outrage that the long awaited legislation is “essentially privatisation through the back door” and that it is “fundamentally undemocratic”.
The legislation published today means that public land will be handed over to the Land Development Agency, without any requirement for local councillors to vote on it. It gives sweeping powers to the Housing Minister to define the percentage of affordable housing on the site and makes no requirement for it to be a certain percentage.
The Dún Laoghaire TD said: “This is a disgraceful piece of legislation. It is essentially privatisation by stealth and rides roughshod over local democracy by ensuring that land can be transferred to this new agency by ministerial order. This Bill represents the government reneging on their Programme for Government commitment for ‘Housing for All’. This proposed legislation is the final nail in the coffin of social and affordable housing.
“This government and the previous one have been repeating the mantra of providing “social and affordable” housing for the last 6 years. They had promised that the LDA would be delivering these much needed homes but instead the legislation makes hardly a reference to social housing and defines affordable as “below market price”. It does not even define the percentage of affordable homes on a site.
“With average house prices running at over €400,000 and €598,000 in my constituency, it is clear that we need a commitment to much more than just “below market price” as the definition of affordable.
“Vast swathes of public land have been left idle for years, while successive governments have relied on the private sector for the delivery of public and affordable housing. This policy has failed dramatically and this new Land Development Agency Bill will only exacerbate the problem and continue allowing the market to dictate prices therefore ensuring that housing remains unaffordable for the vast majority of people.”
Cllr Tina MacVeigh, Chair of the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, said: “Public pressure over the past few years has finally forced councillors on Dublin City Council to keep public land in the ownership of the Council. Most recently the sale of the Oscar Traynor site to a private developer was stopped and a cross party group has developed a proposal for a public development of social and affordable housing on the site. Ironically, there have been attempts over the past few weeks to secure a meeting with Minister O’Brien to discuss this proposal but he has put us on the long finger. Today we know why. The new legislation will give absolute power to the LDA to take control of the Oscar Traynor site.
“The publicly elected representatives, mandated by the people to keep public land for public housing will be completely undermined. This is an attack on democracy and an attack on those at the coal face of the housing crisis.”