Niall Ó Tuathail predicts worst is yet to come on homelessness in Galway

The June homeless figures released recently show that the number of people homeless in Galway is at its worst ever in recent history, with 189 adults homeless.
Reacting to the numbers, Social Democrats Galway representative Niall Ó Tuathail said: “These numbers are shocking but unfortunately neither surprising nor unpredictable. The population of Galway is growing very quickly and we aren’t even building enough homes to keep up with that growth, let alone eat into the current shortage. Most of the safety nets that protected people from street homelessness are used up – that’s things like emergency accommodation, people sleeping on friends’ couches, divorced couples continuing to live together. From now on, bigger shortages of housing will mean even more street homelessness. I truly hope I am wrong, but I think this situation is going to get much worse and we will have an even worse humanitarian crisis on our hands soon.”
Commenting on solutions, Ó Tuathail said: “The only long-term solution is to build more affordable housing in Galway. One way to do it is for Government to raise a big fund to directly invest in housing. That will solve the crisis and be positive for the state’s finances. We could sell most of the homes at an affordable cost to families and long-term rental companies, paying back the majority of the fund. The remaining homes could be used for social housing, with the rent paid by tenants covering the cost of interest. For this to happen, we need government to go beyond relying on developers for new housing projects, and the local authorities to treat this as an emergency and speed up new building programmes.”

Recognising that new homes will take time to build, Ó Tuathail argues that some short-term solutions can help, including those where Galwegians can directly help: “While we wait for new homes to be built, there are things that we can do. Our emergency housing services, like those provided by COPE Galway, are at breaking point. Government should be increasing funding, and I would encourage anyone who can to donate to organisations like COPE to allow them to do more. If anyone has an empty house that needs renovations before renting out, it is possible to get government funding under the Repair and Lease scheme. Galwegians can also rent out spare rooms to students tax-free under the rent a room scheme. If anyone has any questions about these programmes, we in the Social Democrats would be happy to help.”
Niall Ó Tuathail is available on 083-4556957 or [email protected]

Digs – getting money for your spare rooms

Galway is in a housing crisis, and it is at its worst when our student population returns for the start of term and struggle to get accommodation. At the same time, homeowners with spare rooms may want some extra cash during term time to help pay the mortgage but are worried about tax or paperwork implications when it is actually tax-free and relatively straightforward.

We want to do our bit for Galway by getting more rooms on the market – this will benefit students and homeowners. Please have a look at this simple 3-step guide below and get in touch if we can help you to get your room on the market (e.g., with Daft posting, drafting a lodger agreement, etc.).

There are three steps to getting money for your spare room:

  1. Decide whether having a lodger in your home is right for you and your family
  2. Take photos of the room and post it on
  3. Interview people you like and make a written agreement


1. Decide whether having a lodger in your home is right for you

If you have never had lodgers in your home before, it can be a big decision. There is some good discussion of the pros and cons at If you are worried about the tax or paperwork implications, it is actually quite easy. The income is tax-free for most lodger situations (up to 12,000 euros per year tax-free – most digs in Galway are between 300-600 euros / month) and you don’t need to register with the PRTB (More on this here).


2. Take photos of the room and post it on

Once you have decided to go for it, take some nice photos of the room and house and post it to Daft (it’s Free). The link is here.


3. Interview people you like and make a written agreement

If your price is reasonable, you should have lodgers e-mailing and phoning to see the room. When they come, make sure you ask enough good questions to be comfortable the person is right to live in your home. As a starter, there are some questions here. While you don’t need a legal agreement, and you are entitled to ask the tenant to leave with “reasonable notice”, it is always worth having a written agreement with the tenant and use this as an opportunity to discuss the expectations both of you have for how the arrangement will work.

We hope this has been helpful. If you want to discuss this further, or need our help to get you set up, please give us a call on 083-4556957 and one of our volunteers can help you get set up!