Figures show Fingal County Council spent over €120 million on private homes

by Sylvia Pownall
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Figures show the councils’ spend on homes across the city was revealed by Darragh O’Brien’s FOI request, with the Government’s response to tackling the housing crisis drawing criticism

Councils spent almost €1 billion of taxpayers’ money to take private sector homes off the market since 2011 – with Fingal County Council forking out €120 million.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that in all, 5,559 private sector units have been purchased nationally from 2011 to 2017.

According to figures obtained by Fianna Fail housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien, in Fingal, the local authority spent a total of €120,172,828 buying up 312 private residences.

A breakdown of the statistics gives Fingal an average unit spend of €250,750 in 2011 when just two units were bought, rising to €245,802 per unit in 2017 when 104 were purchased.

The Department of Housing’s own figures show that it would have cost €199,000 to have built a new social housing unit in Dublin during the same period.

Deputy O’Brien said: “In the midst of the worst housing crisis to have gripped the country, the Right-wing orthodoxy of Fine Gael has prevented the sort of response needed to deal with the crisis.

“This data has revealed that [the] government has spent just short of €1bn in taxpayers’ money to purchase 5,559 homes, pricing families trying to buy their own homes out of the market without adding to the national stock.

“Not only has the Fine Gael plan driven up house prices generally, but in many instances it would have been significantly cheaper for the State to build new social homes.

“Take Dublin, for example – it would have been €29 million less expensive to build the same number of units than the Government chose to buy instead.

“This sad narrative is the very same in every county up and down the country; no vision whatsoever to bring new housing stock on stream, and a severe overreliance on the private sector.

“Affordable housing needs to be at the core of the forthcoming Budget, and we will fight hard to force FG towards adopting a comprehensive affordable housing scheme,” he said.

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