A HOUSING crisis is “engulfing” Cork and putting future foreign direct investment (FDI) at risk, according to Fianna Fáil enterprise spokesperson Billy Kelleher.
Mr Kelleher said that skyrocketing rents and lack of supply will turn businesses off of Cork as staff struggle to find accommodation. He said that action needs to be taken now to offset the problem. He said that other European cities will get investment from multinationals over Cork if the housing situation continues.
“In recent weeks, we have seen queues of students, young couples and overseas workers outside apartments and homes to rent. The craziness has started again, and unless we nip it in the bud, we risk damaging our competitiveness even further.
“How can we expect foreign companies to actively consider Cork for investment when there is no accommodation for their staff?
“There is simply a lack of capacity in all areas of the residential housing market. Until more units are built for rent or for sale, we will continue to see queues of people clambering to get a foot on the housing ladder,” he said.
He said that policy changes need to be made to speed up new builds.
“The process of building housing in this country is simply too bureaucratic. We need to actively look at the planning process to speed up the delivery of housing.
“I am deeply worried that Cork risks losing its edge over other European cities when it comes to attracting FDI and important jobs. It’s time we got on top of it, otherwise, we risk ruining the future socio-economic development of our city,” said Mr Kelleher.
Meanwhile, the Housing Action Group carried out a 24-hour protest at the Dáil, which concluded this morning.
This is the eighth protest organised by the group since February. They have collected more than 6,000 signatures on a petition demanding the government declare the housing crisis to be a national emergency and take action. The group believes that there is broad support for housing action in the Oireachtas, but it is bogged down by party politics. They want a cross-party committee set up to deal with the issue, with 50% of the membership coming from outside the Oireachtas.
Cork county councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, who speaks for the Cork group, has said he is very disappointed that Cork City Council has as of yet failed to call on Government to set up a National Emergency Committee.
“City Council has failed the people of Cork, this is a huge crisis for thousands of families. City officials seem to be afraid to challenge Government by contracting their failed housing policy – what a joke!”
Mr Ó Cadhla, also criticised his own council for talking but not taking action.
“While the County has called the issue a National Emergency, they have failed to take any emergency measures to alleviate the problems,” he said.