Housing issue ‘isn’t a crisis anymore, it’s a disaster’, says Michael D Higgins

Housing Issue ‘Isn’t A Crisis Anymore, It’s A Disaster’, Says Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins speaking after he officially opened Jigginstown Manor, a Tiglin facility for vulnerable young adults in Naas, Co Kildare. Photo: Colin Keegan/ Collins
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Amy Blaney

President Michael D Higgins has said Ireland’s housing policy is a “disaster” and has been the country’s biggest failure.

Mr Higgins was speaking on Monday during a visit to addiction charity Tiglin’s facility at Jigginstown Manor in Kildare, a centre for homeless young adults.


The President did not hold back his views in a speech about the state of housing, comparing the current housing system to the Poor Law system, abolished in 1925.

He said: “I often ask myself, how republican is what we have created, isn’t it sometimes very much closer to the poor law system that we thought we were departing from.

“I have taken to speaking ever ever more frankly in relation to housing, because I think it is our great, great, great failure.

“It isn’t a crisis anymore; it is a disaster.”


Mr Higgins criticised the lack of homes being built in the State and the country’s appearance of a “star performer” internationally.

Mr Higgins said: “We have to really think about meeting the basic needs of people in a republic, be that food, shelter and education... Building homes is what’s important. It’s not to be a star performer for the speculative sector internationally or anything else.”

This is not the first time the President has publicly shared his views on the housing situation.

Mr Higgins previously referenced the housing crisis in a 2018 speech at the 2018 Galway International Arts Festival, where he called for a debate on “all the constituent parts of our housing system”.

While in his 2017 Christmas message, Mr Higgins said it was another season overshadowed by homelessness and those who are “deprived of a secure and permanent shelter”.

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