DUBLIN, Ireland: The Irish government has announced a multibillion dollar plan to resolve the nation's ongoing housing crisis, which has become a major political issue.
The five-year $24 billion plan seeks to stimulate homebuilding to reach 33,000 units per year by 2030, up from some 20,000 last year.
Ireland has been unable to meet the demand for housing since an enormous property crash resulted in the bankrupting of developers and prompting construction workers to emigrate or retrain.
The crisis was compounded by the construction shutdown during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Further, the lack of new housing has contributed to the cost of houses rising to near all-time highs and rents increasing from already record levels.
Also, the housing issue has resulted in rising support for the left-wing nationalist Sinn Fein party and a fall in support for the party of prime minister Micheal Martin.
"If we do not recognise the scale of the challenge and respond to it in time, it has the potential to be profoundly destabilising for our country," Martin said at the launch, as reported by Reuters.
The government has proposed imposing a new tax on vacant land, as well as the purchase and resale of vacant properties by the state.
Additionally, the government will use a mix of providing social homes and schemes for affordable and cost-rental housing.
Meanwhile, opposition Sinn Fein party leader Mary Lou McDonald is calling for a doubling of direct government spending on housing.
In criticizing the government's plan, she said "It's a blueprint for more of the same... failed policies that created this crisis in the first place," as reported by Reuters.