By Cillian Sherlock, PA
Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik has said the party’s aim to deliver one million homes in 10 years includes properties that are already built and occupied.
Announcing the plan at the Labour Party conference in Cork on Friday, Ms Bacik said: “Our ambition is for one million homes in 10 years, starting now.”
Ivana Bacik said the State can deliver 50,000 new builds and 50,000 refurbished homes a year for the next decade.
She told Newstalk’s On The Record that the target includes retrofitting homes that are already occupied.
She said not all the homes that will be refurbished are currently derelict.
“The deep retrofit is going to be part of the picture in bringing more homes into proper usage and making them more affordable,” she said.
Ms Bacik added: “Certainly of that additional 50,000 some will already be occupied but some will not, some will be under-occupied, and some will be unaffordable currently.”
Speaking to RTE’s The Week In Politics, Ms Bacik acknowledged the overall figure “does sound large” but said it was needed.
“The government’s own targets are 30,000 a year, they can’t quite meet those targets.
“But we’re now told by the government’s own housing commission that the target must be closer to 50,000 or indeed higher than 50,000 simply to address the need there.”
Asked about how the homes would be built, she called for “an aggressive recruitment campaign” of construction workers.
“The Irish built Britain.
“Let’s think about the scale of ambition of Irish construction workers in the past.
“We can do this.
“We have a budget surplus of 5.3 billion last year, the highest budget surplus in Europe.
“So it’s not the economy that’s holding back construction, its ideology.”
Labour has also put down a vote of no confidence in Government over a “catastrophic failure on housing”.
Last week, the Government won a Dáil vote on ending the eviction ban at the end of March following a deal with a group of independents.
Ms Bacik said it did not mean those independents would not support Labour’s motion on confidence.
“Independents are independent of course, just because they vote one way one week does not mean they’re necessarily felt the same way on a different vote the following week,” she told Newstalk.