Public concern about housing and homelessness is set to be a defining issue in the next general election, Focus Ireland has said.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Mike Allen of Focus said widespread concern on doorsteps about the housing crisis has not yet manifested in the ballot box.
“I think some of the political strategists will be looking at the local elections and saying that the biggest local election issue was housing – everybody said that, everybody who was knocking on doors said that housing and homelessness were the big issues – but it didn’t turn into a vote for any particular party,” he said.
While party strategists might be tempted to conclude that there are no votes in the issue, Mr Allen says this could prove a costly mistake at the next general election.
“Unless political parties have credible responses to the scale of the problems they’re going to very much suffer at the polls,” he said.
The temptation, he said, is that party thinkers might compare public concern about housing with public concern about health, which despite having long been the top concern of voters has not swung an election in over 20 years.
“I think people recognise that housing and homelessness are more solvable than our particular version of the health crisis,” he said.
“They know that it was solved in the past, they know that we had massive house building projects and so have other countries which have really got to the heart of this issue, so people are asking why if we were able to do this in the past, why can’t we do it now?”