Mullooly on leaked Housing Report: ‘We can’t afford not to invest in housing’

In light of the recent bombshell report from the Government-appointed Housing Commission, Ciaran Mullooly, MEP candidate for Midlands-North-West, has condemned the Government’s “failure” to address Ireland’s housing crisis and pledged to seek solutions to the systemic issues facing the country in the European institutions, if elected.

The Housing Commission’s report lays bare the chronic issues plaguing Ireland’s housing sector. The Commission’s findings include a call for a radical “strategic reset” of housing policy, citing ineffective decision-making and reactive policies and a severe housing deficit, estimated between 212,500 and 256,000 homes as of the 2022 Census, contributing to larger household sizes, lack of affordable housing, and increasing homelessness.

Ciaran Mullooly emphasises that the Housing Commission’s report underscores “yet another failure of government policy”. He asserts that immediate and decisive action is necessary to mitigate the crisis: “The Housing Commission’s report is a damning indictment of the Government’s persistent failure to address Ireland’s housing crisis.

“The severity of the housing deficit, coupled with one of the highest levels of public expenditure for housing in Europe yielding some of the poorest outcomes, is unacceptable.

“If elected to the European Parliament, I will leave no stone unturned in advocating for securing strategic funding to front-load the costs associated with supplying more social and affordable housing now, not in the distant future.

“While great emphasis is placed on the need to increase social housing stock, we need to also be conscious of the fact that ‘generation rent’ is a generation of middle-income earners trapped between qualifying for social housing and being able to afford to buy a house. Therefore, I will be searching high up and low down in Europe for all and any funding that may be available to enable the state to frontload investment in housing now”.

Accessing EU funding

Mullooly says he plans to leverage his position in the European Parliament to access critical EU funding to address the systemic issues in Ireland’s housing sector. Specific funds that could be pursued include the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).

“This fund supports social inclusion and helps address housing affordability issues across the EU. I don’t think Ireland has taken full advantage of this funding for this purpose.

“Also, the Affordable Housing Initiative under the Single Market Programme (SMP-COSME). This initiative aims to support the construction and renovation of affordable housing using innovative approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Again, we need to be absolutely certain Ireland is leveraging all these funding streams, not tomorrow – but today!”