Urgent measures needed to tackle housing crisis in Galway

Government not doing enough to meet immediate needs of many families – Mullen

Independent NUI Senator Rónán Mullen has called on the Government to take immediate action to alleviate the pressure on families renting accommodation in Galway.  He criticised the lack of urgency on the part of the Minister for Social Welfare, Joan Burton to tackle the problem of rising rents in Galway city and county.

Senator Mullen said:

“The Minister for Social Welfare promised increased spending on social housing last December.  While this is welcome, new houses take time to come into the system. Right now there is an immediate need for increased rent allowance to alleviate the pressure created by rising rents in Galway city and county.  Last year rents rose every quarter in Galway amounting to a 7% increase over the year. The result of these increases is that on average the monthly cost of a three bedroom house in the city is now €853. Additionally just before Christmas, rents in Loughrea saw an increase of almost 1.5%  and an increase of 1% was recorded in Tuam.”

He continued:

“Rising rents in the residential sector have made it impossible for families who do not have a steady income to keep up with rent. Any family depending on social welfare will not be able to rent a three-bedroom  house or apartment for nearly €900 per month. A mother of a young family in Galway city contacted me. Her family has been on the housing list for seven years and were told to expect to wait ten years for a house.  With children sitting state exams this year it is unacceptable that this family risks being homeless or in unsuitable emergency accommodation due to the rising rents in the city.”

“Unfortunately this story is not unique. The housing lists in Galway city and county are hopelessly long. Combined with fast rising rents and a lack of alternative accommodation, some of the poorest families are being caught in a trap. Urgent solutions are needed. The Government must introduce a temporary increase in rent allowance until the promised new social houses are available.  Families simply cannot afford to wait”,  Senator Mullen concluded.