Housing crisis ‘easier’ to describe than solve – Tánaiste

Housing Crisis ‘Easier’ To Describe Than Solve – Tánaiste
Housing Stock, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Cate McCurry, PA

The Tánaiste said it is “much easier” to describe a problem like the housing crisis rather than come up with solutions to solve it.

Leo Varadkar made the comments after President Michael D Higgins described Ireland’s housing crisis as “our great, great failure”.


Mr Varadkar said President Higgins was free to comment on matters and has every right to do so.

However, he said commenting on issues and implementing solutions is a “very different thing”.

Arbour Hill 1916 commemoration ceremony
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the President has a right to comment on matters (Brian Lawless/PA)


On Tuesday, Mr Higgins described housing as a “social disaster”, adding that it was no longer a crisis, but “a disaster”.

His comments were widely praised by opposition parties in recent days, many of whom commended the President for speaking out about Ireland’s long-running housing crisis.

Mr Varadkar said he thinks it is right that the President is free to comment on matters.

“He doesn’t need to clear his speeches by the government, that’s never been the case,” he added.


“It is the case for an address to the Dáil, but that’s not something he’s ever done.

“So I think he is free to comment on matters, and he is our first citizen and has every right to do so.

“As somebody who’s in government and somebody who’s charged with solving the problems that people are grappling with in their lives, it’s always much easier to describe the problem and to make pronouncements about it than it is to actually come up with solutions and operationalise them and implement them.

“That’s what I have to do and that’s what we have to do as ministers. That’s our job, not just to describe problems, but actually to run solutions and implement them.


Coronavirus – Sun Mar 20, 2022
President Michael D Higgins described Ireland’s housing crisis as “our great, great failure” (Maxwell Photography/PA)

“That’s a very different thing.”

Mr Varadkar said that people who spend half their income on rent is “devastating” and those who are homeless is a “disaster”.


“There are people who have decent jobs, work really hard and don’t feel that they would be able to buy a home and would have been if they’ve been doing the same job 20 years ago or 30 years ago,” the Fine Gael leader added.

“For them that’s really distressing, and we know that, it’s not as if we are unaware of that.

“This is a problem that we’ve been trying to deal with for a long time.

“That’s why we have things like Help to Buy scheme.

“The difficulty we have, the difficulty we all have is it just isn’t happening fast enough and we need to try and accelerate that.”

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