I’d like for a debate to be held with the Minister for Housing, where he can outline to us the future of housing in this country — under this government of course, but also his considered thoughts as to what it will be under the next government and the next, based on what we’re seeing now and the trends that are emerging.
The mortgage tracker scandal — 81 separate regulatory breaches leading to the loss of 25 family homes; what good is a fine to those families?
We have over 500 housing bodies in the country, in addition to our local city and council authorities — why? How did we get to this stage? Surely in the provision of housing, a centralised response best allows for the most efficient use of land and resources — wasn’t that the thinking behind the establishment of the Land Development Agency?
And yet we now have charities bidding against councils bidding against foreign investment funds… all pricing out first-time buyers. Part of me wonders if, instead of giving first-time buyers little helps in the form of schemes and grants, we should give them the whole playing field for about a year — one year where no house is sold to anyone except first-time buyers who are going to live in it.
But is home ownership the future of households in Ireland? When you look at all of these housing bodies, it’s buy or build to rent — will lifetime renting become the norm in Ireland?
Will the notion of the family home passed down through generations fade away, replaced by accommodation security in the hands of the government — have this house until you die, then it goes back in the pot and is allocated to someone else?
What are the implications of a right to housing, and how will they reconcile with private home ownership? Will they?
These are questions that many people in this country would like asked, and I think the Housing Minister should come in here and speak to these concerns.