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The Government has 'abandoned a generation' and created this housing crisis - Rory Hearne

The Government has "abandoned a generation" and created the housing crisis, an academic and housi...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.38 18 May 2021


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The Government has 'abandoned...

The Government has 'abandoned a generation' and created this housing crisis - Rory Hearne

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.38 18 May 2021


Share this article


The Government has "abandoned a generation" and created the housing crisis, an academic and housing expert says.

Dr Rory Hearne says the Government has "utterly failed" to build affordable housing, at the same time as they've "invited in investors" through their policies.

It comes as the Taoiseach says emergency measures aimed at tackling investment funds buying Irish housing will likely be passed tomorrow.

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Ministers will hold a second Cabinet meeting this evening to make changes to planning and tax laws.

Up to half of the new developments could be ringfenced for first-time buyers or owner-occupiers - though this may apply only to houses and not apartments.

Rory Hearne, Lecturer in Social Policy at Maynooth University and Author of Housing Shock, told Lunchtime Live the housing crisis is a "social catastrophe".

The Government has 'abandoned a generation' and created this housing crisis - Rory Hearne

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He said: "The only reason [housing] hasn’t been to the fore is obviously because of the COVID pandemic. The crisis has been continuing.

“There are hundreds of thousands in this country who are in some way affected: be they renters who can’t afford rent; young adults living at home… the talk of emigration is very significant.

“We’ve seen the Government - and I’ve been warning about this for years - basically abandon this generation.

"They have utterly failed to build affordable housing… I think that, at its core, is the problem. They essentially handed over housing to the market."

Dr Hearne raised concerns about the emergency measures, saying any changes to planning laws won't apply to homes already given permission.

He said: “The stamp duty potential increase will have limited impact on these funds.

"My big concern - and I know it's the public’s [too] - is that it will just be window-dressing, trying to make it appear they’re doing something but not actually changing it.

“It’s not going to have the immediate impact that’s needed."

Dr Hearne argued that major changes are needed to housing policy are needed, including ending tax breaks for the investment funds.

He said the Government should also direct NAMA to stop selling thousands of homes to vulture funds so the properties can instead be sold at "genuinely affordable rates".

Main image: Dr Rory Hearne. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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