Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government increase in social housing income eligibility threshold is not enough

Pringle: Government increase in social housing income eligibility threshold is not enough

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said any rise in the social housing income eligibility threshold is welcome, though he said the Government plan is still not enough.

Deputy Pringle said: “There is no doubt that the social housing income level threshold is far too low, and I have been raising this issue for some time now. Thankfully the minister has actually agreed to do something about it, although it is not enough.”

Minister Darragh O’Brien had agreed earlier in the year to raise the threshold by €5,000 in counties Carlow, Clare, Laois, Westmeath and Galway, and has now extended it across the country from January 2023.

Deputy Pringle said the announcement was welcome, in the sense that if you have a disaster, “to have slightly less of a disaster is slightly better. But it’s shocking.”

The deputy addressed the Dáil on the issue on Thursday evening, speaking during statements on social housing income level thresholds.

Deputy Pringle said: “I have people come into the constituency office, people earning €32-33,000 a year with four or five kids. I say to them, look, you’re never going to get on the housing list. And they say well what are we supposed to do? We can never get a mortgage. I say there’s nothing you can do.”

He said: “And this government doesn’t want to know about them. And that’s the reality of the situation.”

The deputy said a young family earning up to €50-60,000 a year will never get a mortgage the way things are at the minute.

Deputy Pringle said: “I actually don’t think there should be any income limit to being on the housing list. I think everybody should be able to be on the housing list.”

The housing list is used as a way to determine the housing needed, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “If you artificially keep the numbers down, it actually says, in the bizarre way that the government works, oh, there’s not much need so we don’t have to provide many houses. So the more people you get on to the housing list, the better.

He said: “The more people you have on the list, therefore you have to provide more houses. So we might actually get to the point where we provide more houses.

“The list is used as a way of controlling the delivery of houses,” he said, adding, “so it’s vitally important that we actually get to the point of having a decent and realistic list.”

Addressing the government, Deputy Pringle said: “The so-called market that you’re in love with and you’re enthralled with, that won’t provide houses for them and those people are being left behind right across the board.” He said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were equally to blame over the years.

Deputy Pringle said: “The point of any government, and the point of the State is that we should be stepping in and stepping up to the mark for those people, and you haven’t,” he said.