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Waterford families 'feeling the strain' to pay rent

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Waterford families 'feeling the strain' to pay rent

'Government spending more on rent subsidies than house building ' - Cllr Conor D. McGuinness

A Waterford councillor has said the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil confidence and supply arrangement will see the Government spend more money on rent subsidies than on house building in 2020. 

Sinn Féin’s Cllr Conor D. McGuinness made the comments at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry, where he secured the support of the party for an immediate review of the Housing Assistant Payment (HAP) scheme. 

“Rent subsidies can only ever be a stop gap measure as we seek to address the chronic housing crisis in Ireland. An increase in supply is the only real and sustainable solution to ever increasing rents and a shortage of quality and affordable housing,” he said. 

“Rents have increased by a staggering 11.5% in County Waterford in the last year. Couples, individuals and families are all feeling the strain, and many people in overcrowded or unsuitable accommodation are unable to find an alternative. HAP rates have not kept up with a dysfunctional private rental market and families are bearing the brunt of this.”

Cllr McGuinness said there is an acknowledgement from the council that the HAP scheme is “not fit for purpose, but Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are ideologically committed to the huge transfer of public money to landlords over investment in tangible assets such as social and affordable housing units.” 

He added: “Waterford City and County Council needs to be empowered to build houses. As long as tweedledee and tweedledum of Irish politics hold the purse strings, this is unlikely to happen.”