Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the leaked proposal, supposedly coming from Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to restore the bedsit option, as a backward step and a non-runner.

The Sinn Féin TD said the current housing crisis needed new and modern thinking and this backward step of reintroducing bedsits was not a healthy or welcome option for renters. He said it could conceivably put vulnerable and desperate people into substandard accommodation.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I belong to the generation of people who have lived in and experienced the negative side of substandard bedsits, and I welcomed their abolition a number of years ago. Many of them were run down, unhealthy, cramped, fire hazards, a complete rip off and they exploited renters who had no other options.

“Even the proponents of the proposal to reintroduce bedsit accommodation admit that it will do nothing to resolve the housing crisis and it won’t alleviate the housing pressure thousands of families and individuals are currently facing.

“If this proposal goes ahead it will inevitably ensure that another generation will be condemned to a lifetime of poor quality and inadequate accommodation.

“The only winners in this proposal will be the landlords and speculators who own these properties, the same landlords who have had years of opportunities to improve and modernise substandard properties.

“This latest proposal is a clearly a non-runner and will fail to improve or alleviate the crisis facing families and individuals trapped on housing waiting lists across the state in every local authority area.

“The solution is the provision of secure, affordable and good quality accommodation, which the government as clearly not yet managed to grasp. The government is only spending €700m on social housing this year when it needs to spend at least €2bn to meet the need required.

“The government should turn its focus away from bedsits and instead start unlocking the potential of 180,000 vacant units across the state, and ensuring rental tenants have rental certainty and security of tenure.”