Carol Nolan TD



The housing situation in Ireland is in a perpetual state of crisis due to the failures of successive governments. Families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Young couples in rural Ireland are being left in limbo for excessive periods of time because of flaws in our planning system. Vulture funds are swooping in on struggling borrowers and in some instances are forcing farm sales without prior notice.

Access to third level education is becoming more and more difficult due to lack of affordable student housing. The most vulnerable citizens in our society are feeling the worst effects of this housing crisis.

Despite its platitudes and promises, the Government has lost all control of the housing situation. Affordable, sustainable and practical solutions need to be implemented as a matter of urgency.

Carol Nolan TD Housing

People are in desperate need for homes but the lack of affordable housing makes it impossible to grasp onto – let alone climb – the housing ladder. Even in rent pressure zones, it is impossible for people to secure affordable accommodation. The current rates of rent are unsustainable for the majority of working families, including those who rely on HAP and other payments.

The Government is failing young people because of its lack of action on building affordable housing schemes. Hundreds of Approved Housing Bodies have received billions of state funding in recent years with few results to show for it. There seems to be little oversight of or value for money with these Bodies, which reflects the Government’s floundering over this matter. I have campaigned relentlessly on this issue and will continue to do so until adequate affordable housing is delivered.

An entire generation of young Irish people are being failed by Government when it comes to housing. They face constant barriers to planning permission when they try to build houses on their own land and are impeded. They are especially being failed due to the unacceptable delays and deficits in our planning system.

The crisis surrounding the integrity of An Bord Pleanála at senior management level has seriously undermined trust in the fairness and impartiality of the planning process. An Bord Pleanála is simply not fulfilling its statutory obligations, in particular when it comes to section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, which states that every appeal is to be determined within 18 weeks.

While the staff of An Bord Pleanála are doing their best to deal with a backlog of cases, we need a more straightforward planning system that delivers outcomes instead of unending delays.

Homeowners are facing enormous increases in their mortgage costs, and I have petitioned Government to introduce timely, targeted and temporary mortgage interest relief. There are a huge number of families who are in arrears with their mortgage payments, and the Government needs to do more to help these hard-working families who are struggling to cope.

Mortgage owners who are also small business owners are facing a double blow because of high utility costs, which is damaging local employment and the sustainability of rural communities.

Applicants seeking international protection deserve better than to be placed in tented accommodation and crammed into hotel rooms. And yet the way in which the Government has chosen to house these applicants is unsustainable and unsafe. While we should assist international protection applicants to the best of our ability, we must also recognise that there needs to be a pause button given the serious housing pressures on the state. Our hotels are at maximum capacity.

Our emergency accommodation is beyond breaking point. Our homeless numbers are breaking records. The current Government approach is leading to anger and frustration building up in communities. The political system needs to find a way to discuss these issues in an open and mature manner.

The current delays in retrofitting in the state are unacceptable. The SEAI, a State agency which acts as the national retrofit delivery body, has received extensive funding over the past decade and is set to receive a further €8 billion by 2030. Despite this level of funding, there continues to be long and frustrating delays between application, approval and the works actually being carried out.

There are many pensioners in my own constituency who have been waiting excessive periods of time for essential work. This matter needs to be urgently addressed.