Media Statement: The Fair Deal & Vacant Housing

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) is concerned at statements from the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy relating to the possible alteration of rules to the Fair Deal regarding the leasing out of vacant property by older people.

Though at this stage, details of potential changes remain unclear, we feel that forcing older people would not represent a solution to the current housing crisis. Indeed, older people already contribute 80% of their income in order to cover the cost of nursing home care. We feel this is more than enough.

Whilst we fully recognise the urgency of the situation, such an arrangement would not offer a fair or appropriate solution. With funding for social housing cut by almost 90% between 2008 and 2014, alongside a waiting list of 90,000 households, it is clear where the problem lies. In order to adequately address the housing crisis, an increased supply of housing, as well as a focus on provision of housing suitable to the specific needs of many older people, is required. Indeed, where, for example, older people wish to downsize their property, they should be facilitated to do so. As part of efforts to tackle the housing crisis, choice, fairness and autonomy must be preserved.

We call on the Minister to clarify his position on the matter and would urge the Government to respect and consider the needs and wishes of older people in relation to this issue.

Máiréad Hayes

086 349 8848