Mary Lou McDonald lays into Micheál Martin in heated Dáil debate, says Government are “failing miserably”
Martin accused Sinn Féin of "sloganeering" ahead of the by-election.
Mary Lou McDonald has said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are "failing miserably" at solving Ireland's housing problem in a heated debate with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, McDonald accused the Taoiseach of allowing cuckoo funds to "snap up entire blocks of apartments and houses", adding that the Government "incentivises" the vulture funds.
"Taoiseach you have not reined in these investment funds, these vultures, these cuckoos, far from it. Your government facilitates their actions," she said.
"Not alone do you allow them to snap up entire blocks of apartments, and houses, but you incentivise, you actually give them a tax break for that behaviour.
"Now, don't try to pretend that this will work in favour of people caught in the rental trap, or young people or families looking to get their foot onto the property ladder and to put a stable roof over their heads. No, it won't. No it won't at all. This is about big bucks."
McDonald added that the funds had been "muscling in" due to the government failing to "rein in" investment funds from the housing market.
"This is about big funds muscling in, with the assistance of your government, into the 'property market' and meanwhile, our citizens, our families, our communities are left with no chance, no real chance, to ever buy or own their own home," she continued.
"And the most despicable part, Ceann Comhairle, and I will finish on this point, the most despicable point on this, is that, tonight, you will sneakily move this through, with the guillotine, with virtually no debate.
"Same old same, same old Fianna Fáil, same old Fine Gael, same old crisis and same suffering for people who live outside of yours and Leo Varadkar's cosy little bubble."
Martin accused the Sinn Féin leader of using the "housing issue for your own advancement" ahead of the by-election, saying that the comments were an attempt to "court popularity".
"You never addressed the point I made because you're into sloganeering this morning," he said.
"There's a by-election. You're into exploiting the housing issue for your own advancement. For electoral advancement.
"Because on the ground, all you ever do, same old Sinn Féin, same old Sinn Féin, oppose this housing project, oppose that housing project, whether it's in Tallaght, whether it's in Clondalkin, whether it's in Fingal, just oppose it because we'll win votes locally and we'll court popularity," he responded.
"That's the same old Sinn Féin I've been watching now for the last two years. Let's ruthlessly exploit the housing problem for electoral advancement, but let's be pretty poor in coming up with substance or solutions about the housing problem."
He said that the "only issue" he cared about was "getting people housed" which he added would require "all hands on deck".
"I asked you about the 2,400 families that could benefit from social housing under this model, which, from my perspective, isn't the ideal model, but we're in transition. And I asked you about those 2,400 families. You ignored it. Because you were into sloganeering, you were into the old rhetoric, the nonsense. I've no interest in any fund. None whatsoever. It doesn't bother me," he said.
"The only issue I'm caring about it getting people housed. And to get people housed, we have to have all hands on deck."
McDonald replied by saying that the current government are "failing miserably".
"You are failing, failing miserably... shameful," she said.
"It's about time you came up with solutions and stop attacking, attacking, attacking and coming up with no solutions," Martin replied.
The Ceann Comhairle then stepped in to ask the politicians to "behave" and "adhere to the rules of the house" amid the heated argument.