17 May 2022

BIG READ: 'Just 60 properties available to rent in entire county of Tipperary,' says TD

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Tipperary TD, Mattie McGrath, has told the Dáil that are "just 60 properties are available to rent in the entire county of Tipperary, from Carrick-on-Suir to Lorrha". 

Speaking during Priority Questions on Housing earlier this month, he said: "Some of the NGOs come up with acronyms. Housing for All is a totally inappropriate name.

"In the face of significant increases in rent across County Tipperary and, as I said, a considerable increase in the cost of living, the income limits are wholly inappropriate."

Deputy McGrath was addressing Peter Burke, Minister of State for Planning and Local Government.

He added: "There is a state of disconnect in respect of the current income limits to qualify for social housing. The Tipperary County Council cap is €25,000 for a single person and €27,500 for an average family comprising two adults and two children.

"These figures have not been reviewed since 2011. Given the significant increase in rent, and the massive rate of inflation and increase in the cost of living, it is simply not in any way realistic to expect a family of two adults and two children to meet their housing needs and living expenses on an income of €27,500 per year.

"It is just not possible. Will the Minister review this? He said he has carried out a review, but when will we see it? This is causing considerable problems, especially given that the cost of renting an average four-bedroom house in county Tipperary is approximately €1,200 per month, meaning that a family with an income of €28,000 is expected to pay 51% of their income towards the rental of a property.

"This is just not possible. It is inhumane and should not be accepted. The review is eagerly awaited.

"I call on the Minister to act as a matter of urgency. We keep talking about aspirations and good intentions, but they will not house people. People cannot afford their rent and cannot avail of HAP.

"According to information on (Deputy McGrath was speaking in the Dáil on May 5), just 60 properties are available to rent in the entire county of Tipperary, from Carrick-on-Suir to Lorrha. Tipperary is a huge county.

"There are only four properties available in my town of Clonmel. There are 3,521 on an approved housing list waiting for housing in Tiobraid Árann.

"As I said, people cannot get places to rent. It is a huge problem and needs to be dealt with. The national average listed rent is now €908, an increase of 61% from the lowest rate.

"The property rental crisis is now at its worst level ever. My office and every other Teachta's office is overrun with people and we cannot do anything for them.

"The new strategy is called Housing for All, but housing for who and when? Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad, nó cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan teach?"

Minister Burke said: "Housing for All is a very appropriate name because, in the context of a comprehensive societal approach, it is important that we have streams to have a record level of social, affordable and private housing.

"Many people in our society are unable to reach the threshold to get a mortgage.

"That is why we have a record level of affordable housing investment to meet that need. Housing for All is the most appropriate name for a document to capture society and respond to the needs of the demographic change in society I can ever see.

"There is investment behind that. As I said, the review has been completed. The Minister is assessing it and will make decisions in the context of the record levels of affordable housing that are being provided to the State, as well social housing. That is what the document will be judged on."

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