Inné, thug an Rialtas teachtaireacht shoiléir d’úinéirí tithe agus iad siúd atá ag iarraidh a bheith i mbun úinéireacht tithe. Sin é, nach bhfuil fáilte rompu anseo sa chathair ach go bhfuil fáilte mhór - céad míle fáilte - ón Rialtas roimh na creach-chistí a bheidh ag ceannach árasán i ndiaidh árasán sa chathair seo, agus níos faide ar shiúl, agus ag fágáil teaghlach agus daoine óga ar an trá fholamh.
The Minister led the Green Party into government saying that things would be different on housing, but, instead of changing things, he is helping to deliver more of the same. We certainly did not need a leak from Cabinet to tell us that Fine Gael objected to housing being a priority for this Government. We have known for many years that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were on the side of the vulture funds and the big developers.
Where is the Green Party in all this, however? There is no point voicing concerns at the Cabinet table and then waltzing in here and voting for the same bad policies about which the party is giving out. Last week, the party voted against cutting rents and banning increases for three years. Last night, it voted against stopping cuckoo funds from buying up apartments and squeezing families out of home ownership. The party has surrendered this city to international investors and consigned a generation, many of whom are young people voted for its Deputies, to extortionate rents well into the future.
I want to share with the Minister some personal stories that have been sent to me by people caught up in this nightmare. Sarah wrote:
My daughter is paying enormous rent. She is still trying to save what she and her partner can pay for a down payment, both working, but the banks won't give them a big enough mortgage to buy anything decent. When they go after a house, it jumps up thousands in price. I feel so sorry for them. It seems hopeless.
My fiance is still at home in a house of ten and I live with my Mam who has a severe disability who has lost all of her benefits since I turned 23. We can't move out because of the crisis!
My son and his friends are all going to be 30 years of age this year and saving so hard to buy their own homes but every time they reach an amount in savings the price goes up again or again the houses are been bought by these vulture funds.
I am on the housing list for ten years. Paying rent and have paid for 16 years sick. Im sick of it. I couldn't get a mortgage and yet have paid €97,000 in rent.
Finally, Amy summed up the feelings of an entire generation when she wrote:
There is no future for us young people. Trying to rent a house at a somewhat reasonable price is near impossible. Right now there are only 9 - bedroom houses in the whole of Cork priced at €1,000 per month or just under. I have been actively applying for somewhere to live with my boyfriend for the last 2 years and in total we have been given 4 viewings ... in 2 years?? How are we supposed to rent a place that's €1,400/€1,500 a month and try to save for a mortgage? It is impossible to look forward to having a future and raising our families here.
There we have it. I ask on behalf of those people why the Minister is accepting this. Why is he part of a Government that is shattering the hopes and ambitions of an entire generation with bad housing policies, which he knows damn well have put developers and investors first?
The Green Party is now up to its neck in this housing crisis. The Minister does not have to respond me. Will he please respond to these people whose stories I shared with him, however, and tell them why he has adopted this position?