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Independent Galway TD says politicians are ‘villains’ of housing crisis, not landlords

‘Landlords are not the people who are the villains in the piece here’

Independent TD Sean Canney. Photo: Tom Burke

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

An Independent TD has said that the Government are the real “villains” when it comes to the housing crisis, not landlords.

Galway politician Sean Canney was speaking ahead of the Dáil debate this evening on the retention of the eviction ban until January as put forward by Sinn Féin.

Several Independent TDs, including Mr Canney, who make up the Rural Independents group have said they are waiting to see the Government's countermotion before deciding how they will vote.

They have proposed a list of eight amendments on housing policy that, if accepted, would swing their vote against Sinn Féin.

The demands include introducing tax relief for small landlords in next year’s Budget and engaging with site owners who have not started building planned housing projects to ensure these developments begin immediately.

RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr Canney said that the group believed that tenants needed long-term measures moving forward as he explained their eight-point amendment.

“The very first one is in relation to nursing homes where people who are in long term care are afraid to rent out their houses because there would be tax reasons for that.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of them (sic) houses in this country. The Government are talking about bringing in legislation to allow it to happen, but it hasn't happened.

“Landlords are not the people who are the villains in the piece here. Effectively, the villains in the piece are politicians who haven't actioned works in a way that we are providing a steady supply of houses for tenants.

“To allow more landlords come into the sector, we need to make sure that that's what's happening rather than having a really narrow focus on something that is doing a disservice to the tenants in this country who could be facing eviction.”

Mr Canney said that it is essential to increase supply in order to protect renters, adding that the lack of accommodation has been “the biggest problem” throughout the housing crisis.

“The biggest failure of this Government is that they haven't been able to provide a supply of housing for people who want to rent. And that is why there is a problem.

“And the other reason that there is a problem is because of the inertia that is there in trying to provide private housing and the viability issues around that.

“One of our proposals is to ensure that planning permissions, of which there are 70,000 projects ready to go in this country, and the government need to engage with the owners of these sites and to bring them forward immediately as affordable houses, which will bring housing into the market, into the private sector, which will allow young couples buy their houses.”

He said it will ensure that these couples are living in houses that they will own rather than rental properties.

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