I welcome the fact there will be an opportunity to hear from the Minister for Health on the issue of the horrific turn of events at the maternity hospital in Cork.
In October 2018, the then Government announced an affordable housing fund worth €310 million to deliver 6,200 homes to rent or buy over a three-year period. In the Taoiseach's budget day speech at the time, he claimed this fund was a result of Fianna Fáil influence over the then Government. Will he also claim the fact the plan was an absolute failure? Zero affordable homes to rent or buy were delivered in 2019 or 2020. In response to a parliamentary question tabled by my colleague, Deputy Ó Broin, the Minister, Deputy O'Brien, has confirmed that only eight affordable homes to purchase will be delivered by this Government by the end of 2021. The Minister, who believes the property market is not out of control, will only have delivered eight genuinely affordable homes to buy this year. Is it any wonder we have a housing crisis? Níor chuir an tAire ar fáil ach ocht dteach inacmhainne sa bhliain seo. Is scannal é seo agus tá sé maslach dóibh siúd atá sáinnithe sa ghéarchéim tithíochta seo. Taispeánann sé go bhfuil an Rialtas ag teip ar thithíocht.
The Taoiseach has now been in government for 15 months. The fund to which I refer was in place before he took office. He has stated many times that housing will be his priority. He has stated he wants to give working people a chance to own their own homes. Is he seriously telling me this can actually be achieved by him when his Government will deliver only eight affordable homes to buy this year?
It seems that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael refuse to change. They simply recycle failed policies, the policies that got us into this mess in the first place. We see that in the plan of the Minister, Deputy O'Brien. It caters for the interests of big developers, large landowners and institutional investors first and foremost and not those in housing need. The Government will not invest enough money in delivering affordable homes through councils and approved housing bodies because those would be homes that people could actually buy. For the Taoiseach, it seems housing is all about the profits of the private sector and Government initiatives that are about lining the pockets of developers. He continues down that road relentlessly. He knows full well that so many people are stuck paying massive rents, forking out as much as €2,000 a month. I do not know how you put together a deposit for a house while paying that kind of rent. Now, through this parliamentary question, it has been confirmed that only eight genuinely affordable homes will be delivered this year. That is a slap in the face to every person who is in housing need throughout the State.
Does the Taoiseach accept that this scheme has been an utter failure? Can he explain how it is that the Government will only deliver eight affordable homes this year?