Varadkar sets target to build 40,000 homes every year

ireland
Varadkar Sets Target To Build 40,000 Homes Every Year
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
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James Cox

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has set a target of 40,000 new homes a year to bring homeownership to 70 per cent by the end of the decade.

In his Fine Gael Ard Fheis speech, the party leader said owning a home is in the DNA of Irish people.

However, he added that it is a goal which is out of reach for too many people at present.

“We must renew the social contract and make owning your own home a fundamental part of it. Tonight, I want to set a target of getting back to 70 per cent homeownership by the end of the decade. This will require getting up to 40,000 new homes built every year, double where we are now,” he told delegates.

Mr Varadkar said public and private investment will be involved in this target.

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He said housing is a human right, adding that it is meaningless to simply say it without action.

“This means voting for new housing not against it, it means stronger protections for renters, encouraging investment not chasing it away and helping first-time buyers to get a deposit and a mortgage. That is what Fine Gael does. Others talk. We build,” he said.

He also said the €22 billion allocated to the health service for the Covid-19 pandemic should be a permanent figure.

“I believe the additional staff, resources and billions in extra funding that we have provided to the health service to respond to the emergency should be retained and redeployed.”

He said Fine Gael's mission in Government will be to build a public health service that is among the best in Europe by the end of the decade.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said owning a home is in the DNA of Irish people, but currently out of reach for too many. Photo: Douglas O’Connor

“We must implement the Sláintecare promise of affordable healthcare for all by reducing out of pocket expenses for medicines and hospital charges and expanding medical card eligibility. In this new decade, let’s make it our mission to build a public health service that can be ranked amongst the best in Europe by the end of this decade.”

“The pandemic has caused us all to re-evaluate what really matters to us the most. The value of community, solidarity, care, our natural environment, our personal health, our home, our family and friends,” he added.

“We have redefined essential workers. Not just nurses and doctors, Gardaí and paramedics, but also supermarket workers, drivers, cleaners, and people working in food production and service, many of whom are on low pay and have poor terms and conditions.

“I believe, a legacy of the pandemic must be better pay, terms and conditions for all workers, public and private sector. Fine Gael will take the lead on this through the introduction of statutory sick pay, the move to a living wage and access to an occupational pension for all employees to supplement their state pension. Reforming our social welfare system to provide a better safety net for people who lose their jobs or take time out to care for others.”

Mr Varadkar also said pandemic financial supports will remain in place as long as they are needed so every business has a chance to recover and grow.

“We will also care for the sectors hit hardest for longest like tourism, hospitality, aviation, entertainment and the arts. We repeat our commitment that there will be no increases in income taxes by stealth or by design because we believe in rewarding work through better pay and fairer taxes,” he said.

 

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