Galway TD Mairéad Farrell calls for greater enforcement of regulations on short-term lettings

TD Mairéad Farrell at the Cost of Living Coalition public meeting

Sinn Fein TD Mairéad Farrell has addressed the housing crisis in Galway City, calling for a greater supply of properties and more regulations on short-term lettings, such as Airbnb.

At the Cost of Living Coalition Galway’s public meeting last week, Farrell shared how devastating the housing emergency is in Galway City.

There are only 18 (now 22) properties available to rent in the city, and 49 (now 53) properties for Co. Galway on Adding, the vast majority of these being inaccessible to those in need of financial assistance, such as HAP (Housing Assistance Payment).

With this supply already falling short of the great demand for housing in the city, the TD pointed out the 604 Airbnb short-term lettings available in Galway City alone. Acknowledging how some of these properties may be unfit for full-time occupation. Still, such high numbers are exacerbating Galway’s housing crisis.

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Regulations were introduced in 2019 to combat the over-saturation of short-term lets, requiring a change in planning permission for short-term lets used for over 90 days.

However, Deputy Farrell explained her belief that current regulations are rarely enforced.

As she called for fines on companies who fail to follow procedures, saying: “What we need is actually the enforcement of that.”

“So we, in Sinn Féin, put forward legislation that fines should be put in place for those short-term websites if they are failing to adhere to that 90-day, that 90-day situation.”

“We are facing into an even harsher winter now in terms of cost of living and in terms of housing insecurity.”

TD Mairéad Farrell

Additionally, the Sinn Fein TD expressed concerns over the cost of living crisis’ impact on Galway residents. Citing high electric, food, heating, and fuel prices, along with lowering wages, as significant issues in the city.

Saying: “What we need to ensure is that poor work pays that allows a certain standard of living. We need to invest in housing supply. We need a ban on rent increases. We need to put money in people’s pockets, and we need to cut the cost of childcare. Which absolutely is acting as a barrier for, particularly women, in joining the workforce.”

The Cost of Living Coalition Galway’s mission is to combat the current crisis impacting people in Galway.

Their description reads: “The cost of living is soaring, while most people’s incomes remain stagnant. The result is more and more people faced with a choice of heating or eating. In the fifth richest country on earth, we believe this doesn’t have to be the case.”

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