Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says Government’s pro-market ideology will continue to leave people behind

Pringle says Government’s pro-market ideology will continue to leave people behind

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said people will continue to be left behind in society as long as the Government maintains its ideological stance that “the market will provide”.

Deputy Pringle addressed the Dáil on Tuesday evening, speaking in support of a Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion on Renters.

He said he supported the introduction of emergency measures to cut rents, the three-year ban on rent increases, the NCT style certification for landlords, the tenancies of indefinite duration and the delivery of affordable student accommodation, but said, “This motion doesn’t go far enough to protect renters and to deliver the large-scale affordable housing needed. But even at that you will still not do this, unfortunately. The reason that you won’t do this is an ideological stance that this Government takes.”

Deputy Pringle said: “Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens have this ideological stance that the market will provide, the market will look after. Well, the market has been doing a great job so far of providing for the vulture funds and for the people who are profiting on the backs of people who are left behind. And they will continue to be left behind, because as long as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens are in Government, that’s the way it’s going to be.”

The deputy also urged every TD, particularly every Government TD, to speak to the children of mica-affected households when they travel to Dublin this morning (Wednesday) to protest outside the gates of Leinster House.

Deputy Pringle said: “If they are willing to take a day off school and make the four-hour journey to stand outside those gates all day, the very least you can do is come down from your offices to see them. Talk to them. Listen to them.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We all know that high rents have disgracefully been a characteristic of Dublin private rentals for a long time. However I find it extremely concerning to learn that other counties are also experiencing rent inflation of over 10 per cent, year-on-year.

“This is especially concerning when considering mica-affected families, who are being forced into the rental market, in the middle of this crisis, while also paying mortgages on their homes because this Government refuses to address their needs and award them the 100 per cent redress they deserve,” he said.

Deputy Pringle recalled the former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, declaring the homeless and housing crisis a “national emergency” more than three years ago.

“What I want to know is what has been done to address this emergency in the three years since? We are in the exact same, if not worse, position as we were then,” the deputy said.

The deputy also questioned why the Government was not using NAMA as a source of affordable housing, and called on Government to release a map and details of all the land NAMA holds.

Deputy Pringle said: “It is absolutely unbelievable to think that there is a wholly debt-free, state-owned agency with €1.2 billion in funding reserves and 577 hectares of residential development land that could accommodate 80,000 social and cost rental homes. Yet despite the spiralling cost of rents, despite the fact that we are facing what has been acknowledged as a national emergency, nothing has been done to utilise this.

“The Minister for Finance has the ability to direct NAMA to stop the sale of its land and to build social and cost rental homes. Why isn’t he doing this?” he said.