‘Huge and disgraceful rents’ are adding to the cost of living crisis which necessitates a ban on rent increases, Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú told Taoiseach Michéal Martin in Leinster House last week.
The Dundalk TD raised the issue of the cost of living crisis, along with the issue of housing, during questions to the Taoiseach in the Dáil. He said it was the ‘number one issue’ raised during his recent canvasses in Dundalk.
Deputy Ó Murchú told the Dáil: Everybody accepts we are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
‘As for housing, we all know that a major issue is delivering on supply. That will not happen straight away, no matter whose policies are implemented.
‘The difficulty we have at present is that there are people paying huge and disgraceful rents to the extent that I just do not understand how they could have operated before this cost-of-living crisis.
‘There is something we can do. We need to revisit a ban on rent increases because, obviously, the 10% increase in rents shows that anything that has been done, including rent pressure zones and caps, has failed to deliver. It is as simple as that.
‘I am also making a call in respect of regeneration schemes in Dundalk, particularly one in Muirhevnamor that needs to be revisited. I will contact the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage about that.
‘It may be that projects that were shelved or put to one side need to be looked at. There are huge maintenance issues, and that is part of the retrofitting scheme’.
In response to the Sinn Féin TD, An Taoiseach said: ‘As I said, the 2% limit on rent increases came in last December. It is now February.
‘It will take some time to bed in. I take his point that supply will take time. I appreciate his candour and honesty about that. There were 30,000 commencements last year. We need more than 30,000 every year for the next ten years’.