Scrap FG/FF plan for a Rainy Day Fund and build homes says Declan Meenagh

Labour Local Area Rep Declan Meenagh has criticised the plans by Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to put €500 million into a Rainy Day Fund next year when we are in the middle of a housing crisis. Instead Labour is calling for 2,000 affordable homes to be built with the money and offered for rent to tackle the housing shortage and give people security of tenure.

Declan Meenagh said:
"Rather than creating a so-called "Rainy Day Fund" of €500 million which will be invested who knows where, a much better use would be to invest this into building affordable housing for rent. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, with the latest figures should nearly 4,000 homeless children, rents reaching record highs across the country, and house prices continuing to rise.

"It's time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to scrap their plans for a rainy day fund and tackle the crisis Ireland faces now. The question has to be asked why two years into this Government they still haven't tackled this major issue.

"Here in Dublin we need more affordable housing, we have a massive housing list, homelessness crisis and not enough investment from the Government.

"Such a fund could build over 2,000 homes and costs would be reduced by doing this on publicly owned land. There are over 700 sites available across the country, adding up to 1,700 hectares. Estimating a build cost of €250,000 per unit which is a conservative estimate of the cost of building apartments, at least 2,000 new homes for rent could be built.

"This would provide an assert for the state as there is an urgent need for quality rented housing that is also affordable.

"We've a situation where some companies are delaying expansion plans because of a lack of housing for future workers, and it has been reported that multinationals are leasing whole blocks of apartments before they are even completed so that they have somewhere to house their workers.

"Creating affordable rented housing is crucial to allow people to take up jobs in a context where private rents are exorbitant. This investment would benefit the economy, and allow job growth.

"This would be a one-off, capital investment, so that there is no recurrent commitment, and a much better use that putting €500 million away in a bank account somewhere or invested in stock exchanges around the world

"It is not prudent to "save" money, if a lack of affordable housing is holding back sections of the economy. It would also reduce

"This is the kind of strategic investment that the Government should be leading on, not putting Irish taxpayers money into some kind of cold storage where we have no idea where that money will actually be invested."