Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have allowed rents to soar over last decade

Pringle: Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have allowed rents to soar over last decade

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said opposition criticism of Government’s failed housing policies continues to fall on deaf ears.

Deputy Pringle said: “We are truly at a crisis point now, and I cannot stress enough the urgency of the matter.

“The situation for renters at the moment is truly shocking. Failed housing policies have created Generation Rent, who do not have the option to buy their own home and as a result are being forced into the rental sector.

“However, with a significant reduction of rental properties available and with the price of these few properties skyrocketing, people have been left abandoned, with literally nowhere to go. It is very clear that the Government’s 2 per cent rent cap is not working.

“None of the Government’s policies are working. How many different ways must this be pointed out before it is finally accepted?” he asked. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have allowed rents to soar exponentially over the last decade, he said.

Deputy Pringle said rent reports over these last months outline the same sad reality: “Rent is rising, government policy isn’t working and something needs to be done now.”

The latest report, the RTB rent index, shows new rents rose by 9 per cent statewide in the last three months of 2021, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The index showed that in my constituency of Donegal, rents for new tenancies have increased by a massive 16.6 per cent. We have seen the recent report which showed that overall rents increased in Donegal by an astonishing 24.3 per cent, the highest rise in rent nationally.”

The deputy said people regularly come to his constituency offices in dire situations.

He said: “I have seen families unable to meet the rising costs of living and struggling to hold on to their homes. I have seen young people forced to put their life on hold, with many not seeing any hope of ever living independently in the foreseeable future. I have seen people nearing retirement age, worried about how they will continue to make rent payments once they take a dip in income. I have seen mica families paying mortgages on crumbling houses while trying to come up with rent money on top of this.”

Deputy Pringle was speaking on a Sinn Féin private members motion that would take a number of actions to end the rental crisis, including a ban on rent increases for three years and providing security of tenure.

Deputy Pringle said: “As a board member of the North West Simon Community, I have sadly seen the shocking rise of homelessness in my region, which doesn’t even take into account the incredible number of hidden homelessness across Donegal. In a single week in March, 97 individuals in the northwest were provided with emergency accommodation. This included 62 single adults and 13 families comprising 15 adults and 20 child dependents.

“There is no justifying this situation. No child should ever have to face homelessness,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The state has failed these families and we should all feel very ashamed when hearing these statistics. Because the truth is that this is not just a statistic, this is real life and real people. They should be treated with respect and with dignity and not as another number on yet another homelessness report.”