Poll: 88% Demand Affordable Homes; Highlights Teacher Concerns

A new poll from Ireland Thinks has found that 88% of voters favour government prioritising the delivery of homes that are affordable for all, while 90% believe local authorities and the State must play a far greater role in the building and provision of homes.

The poll comes ahead of the Local and European Elections on 7 June and highlights the centrality of the housing issue in both contests. It also takes place in tandem with a trade union led campaign calling on local election candidates to commit to key principles around housing, if elected.

The poll was carried out by Ireland Thinks between May 24-28 on behalf of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Raise the Roof housing campaign.

The poll asked a sample of voters if the “key priority of the government’s housing policy should be the delivery of homes that are affordable for all?”

Some 56% strongly agreed, while a further 32% agreed. The positive response was consistent across all age ranges but ran a little higher among the 18-34 age cohort.

It was also consistent across geographical regions and party affiliations – albeit the least positive response was among Fianna Fail and Fine Gael voters.

A second poll question asked if local authorities and the State should play a “far stronger role in the building of homes.”

A full 90% of respondents agreed, with the highest return among the 19-34 age cohort. Again, the positive response was mirrored across the regions and among political parties, with strong support found among opposition party voters and those of Fianna Fail. Fine Gael and Aontu voters were among the least positive.

The poll also comes in the wake of the publication of the report of the Housing Commission which called for a “radical, strategic reset of housing policy” and a major increase in the stock of public housing. The report was seen by many as a de facto rebuke of current government plans and policies.

According to Congress General Secretary Owen Reidy the poll was:

Further proof that people have lost faith in government policy and promises around housing. As it clearly demonstrates, the crucial concern of the overwhelming majority is for homes that match incomes, homes that they can afford.

Equally, the support for a greater Local Authority role in the building of homes reflects the clear view that the market has failed to deliver what people need: secure, affordable homes for all.

Responding to the poll findings, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

To address the unprecedented recruitment and retention crisis in our schools, it is essential that key workers, including teachers, are able to live in close proximity to their workplaces. Last autumn, our survey revealed a shortfall of 809 permanent, fixed-term, and long-term substitute teachers in responding schools, with an anticipated additional 1,202 long-term vacancies within the following three months. The profound impact of the housing crisis and escalating living costs on teacher recruitment and retention, particularly in areas with high rent pressures, cannot be overstated.

The average purchase price of a three-bedroom home is beyond the reach of most single teachers under the age of 40. The INTO believes this is a significant factor contributing to the large number of young teachers emigrating and a major deterrent to teachers considering a return to Ireland.