Cllr Joanna Byrne: Affordable Housing Schemes Needed

At May’s monthly meeting of Louth County Council, Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne had her motion successfully passed calling on the government to introduce affordable housing schemes for local authorities.

The motion read:

That this Louth County Council recognises that homes to rent and to purchase are becoming increasingly unaffordable and calls on government to;
Immediately introduce ambitious affordable rental and purchase housing schemes led by Local Authorities, and where appropriate, Approved Housing Bodies and Housing Co-operatives with clear annual targets for all local authorities;
and to design the Home Building Finance Ireland fund to prioritise loan finance to small and medium sized builders participating in Council led affordable housing schemes.

Cllr Byrne who is also the chairperson of Louth’s Housing Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) said she tabled this motion because “I believe there is huge cohort of people falling through the cracks that firstly earn over the threshold to get onto the local authority social housing list and do not earn enough to qualify for a mortgage to buy any kind of substantial home.”

Speaking in the chamber on the day Cllr Byrne stated: “Under current government proposals, not one affordable home will be delivered in this state this year. Since taking office in 2011, Fine Gael have not delivered a single affordable rental or purchase home through any Government scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Action plan for Housing and Homelessness is no different, it too contains no targets and no clear funding stream for the delivery of affordable housing.”

Cllr Byrne said “the only way to ensure that affordable homes are delivered is to immediately introduce affordable schemes, led by Local Authorities, on public land. The Minister maintains that the private sector will deliver affordable homes via the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), but we have yet to see this materialise.

“I have major concerns as to where the current failing government policies are leaving massive numbers of people in this county, and that is the merits behind me tabling this motion. In my view there is an onus on us as representatives of the people of this County to put our names to this and push for it.”

Cllr Byrne welcomed having her motion passed unopposed, notification of this will now be sent directly to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy.