Sinn Fein’s Senator Kathryn Reilly has called on the Labour party in government to cease with exercises in self-praise and to set about doing the real work of fighting homelessness as they set out before they entered into coalition.
Speaking as the Seanad is set to debate homelessness Senator Reilly said;
“Labour promised to dedicate themselves to ending long term homelessness. In government they have set the target of achieving this by 2016 but they have done virtually nothing to actually realise this goal. Even non-political housing bodies are saying a new focus and approach is needed or the deadline will yet again be reset.
Housing charities and bodies which work with homeless people have reported an unprecedented rise in the numbers seeking their service.
Rough sleeper and homelessness counts have shown numbers are up and breaking records in some cases.
Housing need has trebled in the last 7 years but the state has refused to address this with a social housing build to meet demand which has led to higher rents and the return of slum conditions to inner city areas.
The government claim they have protected homelessness services funding but they have cut nearly 300 million euro from housing, cut housing supports and left those who receive housing support like RAS in the lurch when landlords have evicted them in the hopes of hiking up rents.
Instead of talking up the Labour Party, senators who claim to be dedicated to ending homelessness should be putting pressure on the government to row back on the cuts they have made which are causing 16 new families to go homeless in our capital every week.”