Anne Marie McNally: Out Of Reach


From top: Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy; last night in the Dáil; Anne Marie McNally

In dismissing the Motion of No Confidence tabled against him last night in the Dáil, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy pointed out that the housing crisis was in one way caused by the ‘ideology of the left’.

He claimed that people don’t care who provides their home so long as they get one.

In other words we on the left need to stop worrying about giving the private market complete responsibility for, and control of, the housing situation in Ireland.

Nice try Minister but I think you’ll find that most people, while initially they may be glad to get a roof over their heads, will absolutely still have concerns about things like the potential longevity of their tenure; the likely cost rises they will face over the course of their tenure; and indeed the ethical and moral attitude of their landlord throughout the course of their tenancy.

Of course the private market is a vital part of the solution to the housing problem but it is not, and should not be seen as the main solution.

The State needs to step up here with social and affordable options. Claiming that houses are coming available and they are affordable at €320k just won’t cut it.

Under current Central Bank rules, in order to afford a house of €320,000, a household would need to be earning at least €82k per year, and somehow have managed to save the 10% deposit of €32k.

This is out of the reach of the vast majority of first-time buyers, and especially if those buyers are already paying our record-high rents. It is nonsense to suggest that €320,000 is affordable.

Pitching affordable homes at this level would mean that the only people who could qualify are two-income households. Once again, single people need not apply.

Parents who wish to take time out with their kids need not apply. Parents who are forced to stay home due to childcare costs need not apply. The list is endless.

Basically, if you don’t have two full-time incomes, you don’t count.

And even if you do have two full-time incomes then you better be sure that they’re rock-solid, oh and while you’ve been trying to pay the exorbitant rents currently being sought (an average of €1,936 in Dublin) I trust you’ve also been putting away enough savings to get your €32 grand deposit together for your ‘affordable’ purchase.

Let’s be honest here, and while there are some of us who can say, and no doubt will, ‘well look I managed to do it’ well I say whoopdedoo. Good for you, but y’know what, that ‘pull the ladder up mate’ attitude is more than just selfish, it’s short-sighted and leaves the entire society and economy vulnerable.

This is borne out by evidence recently that senior officials from the major tech multinationals have been lobbying this Government to solve the housing crisis.

When Microsoft recently announced expansion plans they specifically said that the number one question potential talent asks of them is about the housing crisis in Ireland.

So while you may be able to pretend that this crisis doesn’t affect you, it is just that, pretending. Because it affects the economy around you and it tears apart the fabric of the society in which you live.

It ensures that your kids are sitting side by side with children who are living in terror; who are leaving the classroom everyday with no home to go to; children who are forced to swallow the dystopian reality that a homeless hub can be considered a home.

Is that really the type of society you want to live in or your children to grow up accepting? It’s not mine.

And for those who’ll be on their high horse about ‘where are the solutions’ I could write reams here from our housing policy or you could just visit our website and read it but in short I can tell you this, the solution is NOT to abdicate responsibility for housing and outsource it to the private sector as Fine Gael have chosen to do.

Anne Marie McNally is Social Democrats Political Director and General Election candidate for Dublin Mid-West. Her column appears here every Wednesday. Follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @amomcnally

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36 thoughts on “Anne Marie McNally: Out Of Reach

  1. Owen C

    “Once again, single people need not apply”

    Single people probably shouldn’t be a priority for three bed terraced houses, and i mean that with all sincerity as I am a former single person owner of a three bed terraced house that I was the only resident of for 8 years. Pretty inefficient use of resources.

  2. Panty Christ

    Why are we obsessed with owning the property?
    Long term contracted tenure with a professional landlord with a proper regulatory body (with teeth) for landlords and consumer protection type agency for tenants would be helpful.

  3. Abigail

    There’s no bloody housing supply in Dublin. They should be building houses everywhere, there’s enough room in the city. Why aren’t FG letting this happen?

    1. Dr_Chimp

      #1 reason is cost which is linked to the #2 reason which is a bureaucratic mess in planning and local government. Under resourced, fragmented, lots and lots of red tape and a system of local government that yields too much influence to councillors….at this stage what we need is a benevolent dictator for housing & infrastructure

      Its not necessarily FG that allows this to go on…this is how the system has been set up for decades

      1. Col

        #1 reason is NIMBYism
        #2 reason is it’s not really in anyone in power’s interest to stimulate building at the required levels.

  4. postmanpat

    “whoopdedoo”? Do you know the amount of heartache thousands of responsive couples are suffering because they saved and sacrificed because they wanted to establish a stable home before starting a family and now have fertility issues? How is it pulling the ladder up behind themselves just having a mortgage and pointing out that they actually worked for it?

    1. andy


      I know so many couples who left it late and are struggling to conceive. All with good jobs & salaries, paying oddles in tax and not a sniff of IVF support from the state.

  5. b

    I’ve read the SocDem’s housing policy, there’s alot of worthy stuff in it but no silver bullets, in fact it isn’t radically different from the government policy – neither are going to build loads of houses really quickly but that’s a function of the resources available and planning restrictions

    “In addition, we would reactivate Part V of the Planning
    Acts but apply a higher percentage for affordable
    housing so that new developments would be a mixture
    of 70% for purchase, 20% affordable and 10% social.”

    “that all public land disposals must deliver at least 40% of any housing potential on such lands in the form of social (10%) and affordable (30%) housing.”

  6. fez

    Anne Marie,
    What would you do to help landlords? Part of the reason there are vacant properties and no long term leases is that landlords have no protection against non paying tenants.

    What would you do to help people who have bought in the recent market who will end up in serious negative equity after the housing market stabilises? Also including those who are just about to emerge from negative equity after being there for the last 10 years?

    1. postmanpat

      “after the housing market stabilises?” still buying the “soft landing” narrative put out buy the paid shills I see . Dude, the markets isn’t going to stabilize. Its going to crash and burn. You better hope your living in a nice area by next year because you wont be able to move after what’s coming.

      1. fez

        postmanpat, if it crashes and burns soon, the crisis has solved itself as we’ll have ghost estates and mass emigration again

    2. edalicious

      Are you saying that landlords are keeping premises empty and not taking any rent on them deliberately because of the risk of non-paying tenants? There appears to be a slight flaw in that argument.

      1. fez

        edalicious, I’m not saying landlords are doing it, I’m saying people are weary of becoming landlords. If I were to move away for a year, I’d sooner leave my house empty than come back to a wrecked house from a non paying tenant and all I have is the 1 month deposit to fix it

  7. Jeffrey

    Ah, the boys got his back, Mr Murphy didnt have to worry. And so back to regular schedule people, nothing to see here, what housing crisis anyway?

  8. Starina

    I know a few people who have managed to buy a two-bed house in Dublin, and I’m happy for them — but not a single dang one of them has done it without money from their parents for a deposit.

    1. postmanpat

      I’m sure those parents aren’t happy with the situation either, that money could be used for fun retirement projects. But good parents know how hard it is out there , they also had it easy themselves and they know it. Every Boomer has about 50k safely squirrelled away easy, and if they don’t its probably because they were degenerate doley alcoholics that spent every penny on booze and fags and instilled a sense of entitlement for there kids when it comes to getting welfare. (now a lot of that alcohol abuse is linked to handzy priests which is why I despise the church, I’m convinced a few of my uncles were interfered with, it would explain a lot) I’m already putting money away for my kids, so I don’t have to see them suffer . See? planning, delayed gratification? foreign concept to some people. Even crows understand the concept , so if your a doley whinge bag your less intelligent than a common blackbird. Folks can also let there kids live rent free through there’s 20’s while they are earning. I’m going save money , never charge my kids rent and kick them out before they are 30, no exceptions. they have been warned. (every night before nursery rhymes)

      1. Starina

        “Every Boomer has about 50k safely squirrelled away easy”

        Which of my parents supplementing their state retirement with pt work, and who don’t own any property themselves, is that? Your trolling is weak AF today, bbs.

  9. gorugeen

    I know a number of landlords with properties in Dublin city centre. Mostly 2 bed apartments. They’ve all gone the Airbnb route. The profit from it is mighty impressive. That’s after paying someone to manage And they’ve had almost full occupancy.
    Methinks the government is doing the ostrich.

    1. Boj

      Do landlords need to differentiate on a register somewhere what they are using their property for? ie long or short term rental, family home, student accom, business premesis? Can rental categories be initiated with each having their own set of rules and tax levels? Just wondering is all…

      1. Brother Barnabas

        they don’t register short term lets with RTB because they’re not deemed residential tenancies

        same reason, the income is classified as trading income (or miscellaneous if it’s occasional) rather than rental income

  10. A Person

    There is no mention of Approved Housing Bodies and the work that they do, and the number of units that they supply for people in need. – can you address this and why your party is not supporting these as opposed to cheap political points?

    Also this nonsense of 30% soical / affordable housing. Do you know how much it costs to build a house? The remaining 70% will be unreachable for anyone but pension funds.

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