Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has accused the Government of persisting with the same developer-led policies that caused the housing crisis in the first place.

Ms McDonald said the price of houses in Dublin and rents continue to soar.

She warned that an entire generation is locked out of owning their own home.

"It doesn't have to be this way. We have to build affordable houses that people can actually afford," she said.

Ms McDonald called for a cut in rents and to have a ban placed on rent increases.

Responding, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said housing is a major priority of Government.

He told the Dáil that the Housing First programme had reduced homelessness particularly among single adults.

The Taoiseach vowed that over the lifetime of the Government some 50,000 new social homes would be built.

He said that €3.3 billion was provided in the budget for housing, which he described as being "unprecedented in scale".