Cllr. Níall Mc Nelis

Member of Galway City Council Representing:

Knocknacarra | Rahoon | Salthill | Taylors Hill

Labour’s Plan to Solve the Housing Crisis

The housing disaster is the greatest issue facing Ireland. Everyone should have access to a secure and affordable home. Building homes is Labour’s No 1 priority.

The government simply isn’t doing enough. No affordable housing was delivered by the State in Galway city last year. Ireland needs at least 50,000 new builds a year, and to deliver on that increased number of new homes, Labour has called for:

  • Increased State funding to build more social and affordable homes on public land.
  • Transform the LDA into a State Construction Company so that enough new homes are built.
  • Apprentices should be paid better – they don’t even get the minimum wage!
  • We need more construction workers so let’s attract them home by recruiting abroad.

More can also be done now to protect people and free up more homes. Labour would:

  • Tackle the high number of vacant and derelict buildings. Councils need more funding to buy empty buildings and turn these into homes.
  • Regulate short-term lets. Labour first introduced legislation to tackle these in 2017 but we’re still waiting for government to act.
  • Protect renters from no fault evictions and cap rent increases. Labour introduced a Renters Right’s Law in 2021 but it’s being blocked by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
  • Increase funding for housing adaptation grants. The level of grants hasn’t increased to reflect higher building costs.
  • Provide more dedicated housing for older people and persons with disabilities. Many who want to downsize or access housing suitable for their needs simply can’t find the right house.

Housing – What has gone wrong?

  • The government isn’t building enough homes and their social and affordable housing targets are too low.
  • The rights of renters are too weak, and rents are still rising too fast. Evictions are causing record homelessness.
  • There isn’t enough urgency around tackling vacancy and dereliction. Its taking too long for compulsory purchase orders to be completed.
  • The State is too reliant on private developers to build homes and there is too much red tape for councils looking to build new homes.
  • Government meddling that has slowed up the planning system.
  • Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) are too low and not meeting the real costs of rents.
Labour has a plan to solve these problems, and get enough new homes built.
We in Labour know that Ireland can be a great country in which to live, work and raise a family, but the housing disaster is holding us back.
As your local councillor, I promise to work tirelessly towards fixing our problems in housing, so that we can create communities that work for all.

On Galway City Council, I will:

  • Support the provision of social and affordable housing on publicly owned land and the delivery of more cost-rental provision.
  • Campaign for an increase in Council borrowings to build more public housing.
  • Fight for more funding to buy vacant and derelict buildings and have these renovated into new homes.
  • Look for minimum turnaround time targets for vacant council houses and housing maintenance.
  • Seek a rolling programme of estate management and retrofitting to make homes warmer and save money on energy bills.
  • Ensure the Council has a housing plan for people with disabilities, with a minimum 10% of social housing ringfenced.
  • Make sure all new public housing provided by the Council are built according to universal design principles and are fully accessible for those using mobility aids.
  • Provide more resources for the inspection of private rental accommodation by local authorities.
  • Seek the expansion of ‘right sizing’ schemes to assist older people who wish to sell their homes to the Council in exchange for housing that is easier for them to manage.
  • Urgently reassess limits for the Housing Adaptation grant scheme to ensure they are in line with actual costs of delivery and increase direct council investment.
  • Ensure Galway has a plan for student accommodation in the next City Development Plan working with Galway University and the Atlantic Technological University to deliver more dedicated and affordable student housing.

Galway City – the Housing Facts

  • The 2022 Census showed 2,738 vacant homes in Galway City, and a further 8,803 vacant homes in Galway County.
  • Only 181 new build council homes were delivered in Galway City in 2023. Another 46 homes were bought by the Council and housing groups.
  • No new affordable homes were built in Galway city under the Local Authority Purchase Scheme, and no cost rental homes in 2023.
  • There were over 4,500 households on the waiting list in 2023, and the number of households qualified for social housing in Galway City grew by 300 in 2023 to 1,694.
  • The average new rent in Galway City was €1,581 at the end of 2023, an increase of 6.4% last year.
  • Over 100 council homes in Galway were empty in 2023, while in March 2024 there were 288 homeless adults across Galway City and County.



Contact Me

P: 087-619 7300 E: