The construction sector should be nationalised because the current model has “failed disastrously”, Socialist Party TD Mick Barry has said.
Last year, house prices in Ireland returned to the same level they were at during the peak of the Celtic Tiger and the level of homelessness hit a record high.
For Mr Barry, it is all proof that the Government needs to radically change its approach to the housing crisis.
“The for profit model of housing in this country, to say that it has failed would be an understatement,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“I think it has failed disastrously.
“Let’s look at the balance sheet, what’s it delivered?
“We have house prices compared to wages, the ratio is greater than at any time since 2009.
“To rent a house for a year in Cork is 20 grand and 25 grand in Dublin… and now we have youth emigration starting up again [which is] being driven by the housing crisis.”
Such a move would indeed be radical but Fine Gael Senator Regina Doherty said were it to happen she would be “very fearful that the whole bloody thing would come to a standstill.”
“The world of buying and selling, creating and selling has to have a profit motive because otherwise there’s no incentive for people,” she argued.
“They [the problems in the housing market] are not being resolved as fast as anybody would like.
“Without them, we wouldn’t have a fraction of the houses that we actually have being built.
“There’s close to 30,000 houses built in 2022 and the 40,000 houses that we will need in the future.
“Without those people, we’d have zero… They’re the only ones that are providing them.”
Last year, then-Taoiseach Micheál Martin described housing as “the single most urgent and important social issue facing our country” and defended his Government’s record on the issue.
“We have treated this issue as an emergency from day one, in terms of the legislation we have passed and the initiatives that have been outlined,” he told the Dáil.
“A lot of what we are doing is already bearing fruit. While many people urgently need housing, many others have got housing.”
Main image: An apartment development under construction near Griffith Avenue in Dublin, 29-07-2022. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews