Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle slams Government for failed housing schemes and lack of pre-legislative scrutiny for redress

Pringle slams Government for failed housing schemes and lack of pre-legislative scrutiny for redress

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Government must significantly increase direct investment in affordable homes through local authorities and approved housing bodies, saying Government’s failed housing schemes have contributed to the current crisis.

The deputy also said it was essential that mica legislation is scrutinized properly, as he slammed the Government for not subjecting the legislation to pre-legislative scrutiny.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday evening, Deputy Pringle said: “House prices are spiralling out of control and the market is showing no signs of slowing up.” He said the average house price in Donegal jumped by €5,000 in the first three months of this year, and in the three months previous to that had risen by an average of €6,000, for a year-on-year increase of €25,000 in total.

He said at the end of the fourth quarter last year, there were 269 properties for sale in Donegal, a drop of 10.3 per cent over the quarter.

There is also a particular demand in areas affected by mica. The deputy cited a Milford estate agent who said that “the ongoing situation with defective blocks has hampered market activity for the more recently constructed properties, as continued uncertainty plagues the redress scheme”.

Deputy Pringle raised the redress scheme with the Taoiseach earlier on Tuesday, during Questions on Promised Legislation, and said he was very disappointed with his response.

The deputy said: “These families are faced with agonising uncertainty day after day, and they were promised that legislation would be published at the start of this year. We are now in May and we have seen no movement on this.”

He said: “It is essential that important legislation like this is scrutinised properly. And you cannot use the line of wanting to get legislation through quickly as an excuse not to engage in pre-legislative scrutiny.” He said the scrutiny should have been prioritised and completed before the new year, with an aim to publish the legislation at the start of 2022.

Deputy Pringle said: “There is no reason why this couldn’t have been done, except for the lack of government will. Every month this legislation is delayed is another month of uncertainty for mica families and for the housing market in Donegal.”

The deputy said: “I hope that Government remembers this as they continue to delay this legislation and as they decide to exclude very important voices to the scrutiny process of this legislation,” saying the Mica Action Group “would actually see through the legislation straightaway and see if there are any problems”.

Deputy Pringle was speaking in support of a Sinn Féin motion on affordable housing, which would dramatically increase direct capital investment in the delivery of genuinely affordable homes to buy.

He supported the call in the motion to scrap the Help to Buy scheme and the First Home Affordable Purchase Shared Equity scheme, saying: “It has been shown that these schemes only serve to push up prices and divert funding from delivering affordable homes.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We should instead be significantly increasing our direct investment of genuinely affordable homes through local authorities and approved housing bodies. This would be a real and effective measure to tackle the housing situation.”

He said: “The Minister for Housing has not delivered on his promise to deliver affordable homes and this Government’s housing policies not only do nothing to help struggling people, but have actually further contributed to the housing crisis through schemes such as these.”