IT is said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics, but the latter do not bear out government claims about the extent of house building in this country since Fine Gael got into power in 2011. The government claimed that 84,500 new homes were built between then and 2017, but the official Central Statistics Office figure put it at just over 53,500 – a massive 60% less.
This would lead one to question the veracity of government figures we’re being fed by spin doctors, especially in a scenario where opposition politicians are claiming that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is massaging the homelessness numbers to keep them below the 10,000 mark. One thing that is certain is that there are over 100,000 people on housing waiting lists growing more frustrated by the day at the slow pace of progress in rehousing them.
The current government, in tackling the problem, has been dealing with the added legacy of no social housing having been built during the previous, also Fine Gael-led administration. Even just to stop the problem getting any worse, some 50,000 homes a year need to be provided across the board, as rents continue to soar and the response seems like trying to fix a gaping wound with sticking plaster. Obviously, the housing crisis will not be solved overnight and the current range of remedies will take time to kick in, but there is an urgent need to get as much social housing as possible built to make up for the years in which it was shamefully neglected.