[Sinn Fein]

14th July 2003

Housing Minister in denial on price increases

Speaking following today's publication of the Quarterly Housing Bulletin Sinn Fein spokesperson on Housing Arthur Morgan TD slammed the government failure to halt the rise of house prices.

Deputy Morgan said: ``It is simply not good enough for the government to say that the rise in house prices aren't as steep as a few years ago. The average price of new houses across the State rose by over 12.6% in the last year. In Dublin the price of second hand houses rose by 17.6%.

``Minister Ahern has been in denial regarding the continued rise of house prices for some time now. He does not seem to understand that houses are unaffordable for people not just on low incomes but increasingly for those on medium incomes also. In many instances owning your own home is no longer an option - yet the government refuses to intervene to resolve this crisis.

``The Junior Minister's assertion that State land is now available is very deceiving. Very little State land is being made available for social and affordable housing. Very few people will be housed under the recently announced scheme possibly 500 units of housing. There are over 50,000 on local authority housing waiting lists alone. The government planned sale of state land on the open market continues unabated. It is all very well making ¤1.35 million in grants available to voluntary housing associations but these associations are still being forced to compete on the open market with private property developers when they attempt to buy land. State owned land should not be sold. It should be given to voluntary housing associations and local authorities.''

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