On housing, an Irish senator has urged the adoption of a policy of “Irish homes for Irish people” rather than “multinational companies.”
The remarks were made today in the Seanad by Senator Sharon Keogan during a discussion on the order of business.
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“To whom is our allegiance?” asked Keogan.
“Is it to the exchequer? To multinational companies? To faceless overseas trusts generating percentage point profits for people who will never set foot in this country?
“Or is it to our own, the ordinary people of Ireland, who are not seeking inflated real estate portfolios, or passive income investments. Just a roof over their heads, and the opportunity to make a life for themselves, just like we were all able to do.”
Keogan went on to highlight Ireland’s relative wealth, despite the State’s apparent failure to address the housing crisis.
“Ireland is a country of extraordinary wealth,” she said.
“We boast Europe’s second largest GDP per capita. And the government spends a staggering €80 billion every year on running the place. And yet the basic needs of Irish citizens are made unattainable.”
The senator added: “Perhaps the phrase “Irish homes for Irish people” sounds a bit “alt-right” for some people, if meeting the needs of your own country is now extremism.”
She then referenced the Danish housing system as a possible option for Ireland.
“But it is working well for the Danish,” she said.
“Foreigners who have not been resident in Denmark for a period of 5 years or more may only purchase real estate property if they obtain permission from the Danish Ministry of Justice, which is granted on a case by case basis.
“This rule also applies to companies, associations, public or private institutions, foundations or foreign public authorities.”
She concluded: “It’s very simple: in Denmark, houses are for living in – not for generating profits. If you’re a local, you can buy. If not, become one first, or show that you will be one in the next few years. It’s not that there aren’t other people in the queue for Danish houses – it’s just that the Danes come first. And they are put there by their own government.”
The senator said that the government “ought to examine how a Danish-style system might work here in Ireland.”
According to Eurofound in 2020, Ireland has one of the highest proportions of 25-29 year olds living at home with their parents, compared to Denmark, which had the lowest rate – despite both countries having similar population sizes, land mass, and education levels.
However, Denmark has not been insulated from rising house prices across Europe, with Danskebank claiming that COVID-19 has led to rising house prices throughout the Nordic region, including Denmark.