‘What he said was true quite frankly’ – Varadkar responds to President Higgins housing crisis comments
– Yesterday 14:10
The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that he agrees with what President Michael D Higgins said about the housing crisis.
Yesterday, in widley reported comments, the President of Ireland said the housing crisis the country has been battling, is no longer a crisis, ‘it’s a disaster.’
Speaking at the Jigginstown Manor, President Higgins expressed his rage at the ongoing issue.
© Provided by Extra.ieSpeaking at the Jigginstown Manor, President Higgins expressed his rage at the ongoing issue. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
He said: ‘I have taken to speaking ever more frankly in relation to housing because I think it is our great, great, great failure.
‘It isn’t a crisis anymore, it is a disaster,’ he stated.
‘And I think that we have to really think about meeting the basic needs of people in a republic,’ said President Higgins, before listing those basic requirements such as food, water and shelter.
On The Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday morning, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar refused to criticise the president.
‘I think some of what he said was true quite frankly,’ he said.
‘The housing crisis is a disaster to a lot of people. For the 60% or 70% of us who own our own homes — whether it is outright or through a mortgage — that’s not the case but for the people who are paying very high rents. Often half their income in rents — that’s a disaster
‘It is a fact that in Ireland at the moment, very often, a couple both of whom have decent jobs, are unable to afford a home.
© Provided by Extra.ieThe Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that he agrees with a lot of what President Michael D Higgins said about the housing crisis.
Varadkar continued: ‘That wasn’t the case for most of our history and to me that is a social disaster, that people who are working hard and have decent incomes can’t afford to buy a home.
‘Many are so frustrated by that they are even willing to turn to populism and nationalism and Euro-scepticism as a solution.
‘In that scenario, they may lose their jobs as well as a house – but that’s a disaster in my view.’
Minister Varadkar rejected the idea the crisis is a disaster of Fine Gael’s making.
© Provided by Extra.ieMinister Varadkar rejected the idea the crisis is a disaster of Fine Gael’s making. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie
‘We’re responsible for solving it, I don’t think we’re responsible for the construction bubble and the housing crash and all those things,’ he said
‘Part of the reason we have the housing crisis we have is because, 12 years ago we had a housing bubble, a banking collapse and a construction collapse – I certainly wasn’t responsible for that.’
Varadkar said the crisis is a ‘failing of successive governments’, including those involving Fine Gael over the past 11 years.
‘If you look north of the border where Sinn Féin has been in power for the best part of 20 years – homelessness and rents are going up, you know, a lot of the same problems.
‘So, I think it is a criticism of all of us and I accept that criticism but I’m more interested in solving the problem and taking responsibility for solving the problem.’