Sinn Féin has said that if elected to government it would bring in laws to enable the Central Bank to reduce mortgage interest rates and would expect it to use those powers.  

Asked if this would amount to interference with the independence of the Central Bank, Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin said that if the markets are left to their own devices, interest rates would be too high.

"If the market functioned normally, we wouldn't have to take that action," he said, adding that the party did not take legal advice on the policy.

Sinn Féin has also announced proposals to deliver 100,000 public homes on public land if elected to government, which it said would be the largest housing building programme in the history of the State.

This would include 60,000 social homes, 30,000 affordable homes and 10,000 affordable rental homes. It defines an affordable home as one costing less than €250,000. 

The housing policy also includes:

  • A referendum to enshrine the rights to housing in the Constitution.
  • A three year freeze on rents for all existing and new tenancies.
  • Set a date to end long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough.

Mr Ó Broin urged voters to consider who they want the next Minister for Housing to be.

"Do they want Eoghan Murphy, whose achievement is record levels of homelessness, sky high rents and house prices and an ever rising social housing needs?

"Or do they want Darragh O'Brien who has facilitated Fine Gael's failed housing policy and the Fine Gael minister by repeatedly abstaining  on budgets or votes of no confidence?

"Or do they want a housing minister with the vision, solutions and commitment to transform our housing system for the benefit of all? I believe I can be that minister," he said.