The party's co-leader, Catherine Murphy says the housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing Irish society
The Social Democrats are calling for the immediate introduction of rent controls linked to the Consumer Price Index - “until there is sufficient housing to drive down rents.”
The party has brought forward a range of proposals to deal with the housing crisis - including increasing the level of social housing in all new private developments from 10% to 20% and funding developers earlier in the process.
A recent report by property website Daft.ie found that Ireland’s average rent is now €1,077 - an increase of 11.7% on this time last year and a new all-time high.
Speaking at the party’s inaugural national conference this afternoon, co-leader, Catherine Murphy said rent certainty measures introduced last year need to be extended in order to avoid a spike in homelessness.
She said the measures - introduced by the previous government - were “far from perfect” but offered some protection for tenants.
“From December onwards, many tenants across the country face the prospect of huge rent increases, which, for some, may result in them losing their homes,” she said.
“There is an urgent need for the Government to extend these measures to prevent a spike in homelessness.”
Deputy Murphy said the housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing Irish society at present, with average rents nearly doubling in the last four years alone.
“Ordinary homes in Galway and Cork cost five times more than the average annual wage. In Dublin, it’s eight times,” she said.
“The State has all but abdicated its duty to provide social housing, opting instead for its preferred outsourcing model and an increasing reliance on the free market.
“We have to get back to what it means to provide ‘a home’ and not just ‘a property.’”
Some of the other proposals brought forward by the party include an increase in funding for social housing and the fast-tracking of the vacant site levy.
The levy is currently due to be introduced in 2018, however the party are urging the government to bring it forward to July of next year.