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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
By Michelle Devane, PA

Rent increases ‘off the wall’, says Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Damien Storan/PA)

The Sinn Fein leader has described the rental market as “off the wall” and “insane”.

Mary Lou McDonald accused the Government of failing to act to address housing issues, adding that record rent hikes were “entirely foreseeable”.

She made the remarks in the Dail as she called for a ban on rental increases to be maintained for three years.

The latest Daft rental report showed the biggest hike in new rents since records began.

Rents for homes were an average 14.1% higher between July and September than in the same period last year.

The latest figures from found that the availability of rental homes reached an all-time low.

Ms McDonald described the increase as a “another grim record achieved on the watch of your Government”.

“It’s just off the wall,” she said. “Who can afford to pay these insane amounts of money? Very soon only the very well-off will be able to live in our cities.”

The Dublin Central TD told the Dail that teaching unions had said they are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit teachers because of the housing crisis

You come in here every week and tell us the Government's housing policy is working. Well it's notMary Lou McDonald

“Working people can’t afford to rent, working people can’t afford to buy. And social housing delivery is nowhere near what’s needed.

“While this situation worsens the Housing Minister, who is completely out of his depth, says that we don’t have a housing emergency.

“You come in here every week and tell us the Government’s housing policy is working. Well it’s not. The housing policy of this Government should be about delivery. But instead we get denial, delusion and desperation.

“The record rent hike was entirely foreseeable. The writing was on the wall.”

Ms McDonald also said it was “scandalous” that in the midst of a housing crisis the Government has a housing underspend of almost half a billion euro.

In response, the Taoiseach said the Government has treated housing as an emergency since it was formed.

Micheal Martin (Niall Carson/PA)

“We have treated his issue as an emergency from day one in terms of the legislation we’ve passed and the initiatives that have been outlined. And a lot of what we’re doing is bearing fruit,” Micheal Martin said.

The Fianna Fail leader told the Dail “actions speak louder that words”.

“Time and time again the Sinn Fein party has voted against and opposed significant housing developments across Dublin and the country,” he added.

The Cork South-Central TD accused Sinn Fein of being “deeply cynical”, adding: “The difference between the Sinn Fein party, which just simply wants to exploit the issue, and the Government side is we have a range of initiatives and actions taken.

“You take Help to Buy, for example. Help to buy has helped 35,000 people to own their own home.

“Sinn Fein would have abolished that scheme; the First Home Scheme… you opposed that scheme and you proposed its abolition.”

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