Housing Crisis and the ending of the Evictions Ban
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks with Shane Coleman on Newstalk Breakfast and answers questions of the housing crisis and the ending of the evictions ban.
There will be constraints to building houses here no matter who is in government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.
He was speaking amid ongoing criticism of the lifting of the eviction ban from the end of March.
Mr Varadkar told Newstalk Breakfast ending the ban was the right thing to do.
“I think everyone knows that for a number of years now we’ve seen an exodus of small landlords from the rental market,” he said.
“I think it’s 40,000 over the last five years [who] have left the rental market.
“That’s one of the things that’s contributing to the housing crisis.
“The view that Minister [Darragh] O’Brien took, which I supported very strongly, was that continuing the ban for longer would have caused more landlords to exit the market – thus making the problem worse later.
“That’s fundamentally one of the decisions why we decided not to continue with it”.
‘Most frustrating for me’
Mr Varadkar said the Government has increased housing supply.
“We used the period of the temporary winter eviction ban build a lot of additional social housing – about 6,000 units.
“That will take a lot of people off the housing list, and also free up a lot of private rented accommodation for other people”.
Mr Varadkar said he is also frustrated at the process taking too long.
“What’s most frustrating for me is that it is taking so long,” he said.
“If it was the case of signing an order, passing a law or signing a cheque it would all be done by now – but there are real constraints”.
‘Redouble our efforts’
Mr Varadkar said this includes a rise in the cost of steel and materials, and a ‘construction industry collapse’ 12 years ago.
“We’re only starting to get to the point now of equilibrium,” he said.
“We aren’t even there yet, quite frankly, and we have to redouble our efforts and do everything we can to speed up supply.
“There are real constraints and unfortunately – I know people may not want to hear this – but no matter who’s in government, those constraints will be there,” he added.
Biden visit ‘not officially confirmed’
On the upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden, Mr Varadkar said this has yet to be officially confirmed.
“Plans are underway, I’m very much looking forward to greeting President Biden to Ireland,” he said.
“It’s actually not officially confirmed yet, by the way, and the programme isn’t finalised.
“There’s an outside chance that it won’t go ahwad, but we’re operating on the basis that it will go ahead”.
Mr Varadkar said restoration of the Northern Ireland institutions looks unlikely for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Will the executive and assembly be up and running within the next few weeks? I don’t think so,” he said.
“I think it can certainly happen this year.
“We all would have liked to have it happen before the anniversary, but that seems unlikely now,” he added.
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Credit to : Newstalk