Sinn Féin councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on Louth County Council to write to Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to introduce an immediate rent freeze and a tax credit that would see well over €1,000 a year returned to renters.
The general election candidate tabled the motion at the January meeting of the local authority, saying that the cost of renting has spiralled out of control. His motion was supported by a number of other councillors, including party colleague Joanna Byrne who labelled Rent Pressure Zones as a failure and the Green Party’s Marianne Butler who said the local authority should look at the cost rental model*.
Ó Murchú told the meeting that €1,500 was what some families were paying on average every month in rent and he believes that a tax credit would could back into the local economy should it be returned to renters.
He also said that many renters are receiving HAP payments* to help with rental costs which come at a cost to the local authority. “The reality is people are paying far too much.
Speaking to LouthNow.ie, the Dáil Éireann hopeful said that the continued rent increases were “unsustainable, unacceptable and ridiculous.”
What is HAP and Cost Rental?
“People are being absolutely hamstrung,” he said.
“We have people coming to us in our constituency offices, to councillors, to TDs and what they’re telling us is that they’re paying €1,000, €1,200, €1,400 and sometimes more. No one would get a mortgage with these repayments unless you’re talking about spectacularly expensive houses.
Cllr Ó Murchú has previously spoken out on the issue of rent increases in Louth and nationwide and his motion proposes that the government introduce a rent freeze for a period of three years.
“It is ridiculous, it’s unsustainable,” he continued. You will only deal with this problem if you build more houses and Rebuilding Ireland has been shown to be an abject failure so we need to build more council houses, more affordable houses and we need to look at an affordable cost rental for people who are earning reasonable money.
“But there is very few people earning the sort of money you need to earn to pay €1,200 to €1,600 a month.
The representative himself had previously called for a Rent Pressure Zone to be introduced in Dundalk. It did last year, following Drogheda who became a RPZ in 2017. However, he now admits that has not had the desired effect.
“Rent Pressure Zones, while we welcome them happening. have been inadequate.You consistently hear stories where the landlords gazump the rent.
“We would call for a complete rent freeze. It’s unsustainable, it’s unacceptable. I don’t understand how a regular family even gets the money together to pay €1,400 a month.”
Ó Murchú’s comments reflect those of Eoin Ó Broin, who on Monday delivered Sinn Féin’s housing proposals for the general election. The party spokesperson on housing said hey would deliver the largest public housing building programme in the history of the State, while also introducing the emergency three-year rent reduction and rent freeze.