I am sure the Taoiseach will agree that the latest daft.ie rental report makes for very serious and depressing reading, revealing very high rents across the country. The average rent now stands at €1,400 per month. It has been going up continuously for nine years. Alarmingly, economist, Ronan Lyons is warning that the market could face another ten years of high rents and rent misery if the Government continues to settle for a system that depends on the likes of cuckoo funds to prop up the rental market. Meanwhile, Threshold is warning that the continuing high rents are forcing more and more people into homelessness and many more are under the threat of homelessness. Alarmingly, across the country there are only approximately 3,500 homes available for rent. In Dublin 8, rents have gone up 125% over nine years.
We all have to agree that rents have been at an unaffordable level for many years. In Cork the average rent is €1,372; in Galway, €1,300; and in Limerick, €1,219. All of this should act as a catalyst for fundamental change in housing policy. In particular, younger people have been failed badly by current policies. A young person today is finding it impossible to pay these rents. Young couples, in particular, are finding it impossible to save deposits while paying exorbitant rents in tandem with credit constraints. Clearly, the rent controls in place are not working, contrary to what the Minister said in the Dáil last month. The various solutions with which the Government has come up have not been effective or had an impact.
Local authority income eligibility thresholds to qualify for a local authority house are very low. Accordingly, thousands of people on relatively modest incomes are trapped in this high rent misery. It is time for the Government to consider imposing a rent freeze, given the exorbitant levels of rent people are facing. Will the Taoiseach accept that it will be another ten years of misery, according to the comments of the economist Ronan Lyons this morning? Will he accept that current policies are simply not working and that, in particular, a whole generation of young people have been failed and can never look forward to the prospect of owning their own home, which is their wish?