Budget, Investment in Housing, Sustainability & Open Society
The latest homeless numbers show that there are now more than 12,600 people homeless in Ireland: another record high in a long series of sad records.
This increase is a clear result of the government’s decision in April to end the eviction ban that had been introduced last autumn. There was no good reason to do this, and it again showed that the government puts the interests of landlords over those of renters.
Better tenant protection is key to solving the housing crisis, together with significant spending on building apartments, penalising dereliction, and taxing land and property hoarding.
An Open Society
At the same time, refugees had and still have to sleep in the streets and are being attacked, or they are being stopped by so-called concerned protesters from moving into dedicated refugee accommodation.
In this context, the EU officially wrote to the Irish government, expressing their concern over Ireland not meeting human rights commitments. To be clear, the lack of refugee accommodation is a consequence of failed housing policies, not of too many people coming to Ireland.
All this happens while the country is richer than ever. Budget talks started early this year, with many groups throwing in ideas how we should use the billions of surplus tax money as per the figures released by the Department of Finance.
Volt believes that we should invest in infrastructure, including housing, instead of wasting it on short-term measures. We need more apartments, not tax reliefs.
Investment is also urgently needed to move Ireland to a sustainable net zero carbon society. In the European Parliament, the EPP, of which Fine Gael is a member, tried to block the EU’s nature restoration legislation, showing that they are not willing to follow through on Ireland’s international commitments to fight climate change.
Thankfully the law progressed despite claims that the law was anti-farmer or anti-rural Ireland and would put food security at risk. The opposite is true. Not protecting the environment and our natural habitats would in fact lead to dire consequences for Ireland, and farmers will have to play a crucial role in moving towards a more sustainable society.
The last two months illustrated again that we need a clear vision for Ireland’s future based on long-term thinking, better planning to implement it, and the ambition to drive it.