Sinn Féin EU candidate for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada has stated that the European Union has a role to play in tackling the housing crisis.
Miss Ní Riada is urging the Government to apply to the European Investment Bank for match funding loans which could be used to refurbish vacant houses in this state in order to bring them into social use.
Ni Riada made the comments in response to reports in the media that 11 million homes lie vacant across Europe.
“It is incredible that lying vacant across the EU are enough properties to house the continent’s homeless twice over.
“The people of this state are no stranger to such injustice and the European Union has a role to play in tackling the housing crisis.
“The Irish Government must apply to European Investment Bank for match funding loans which could be used to bring these houses into social use.
“With approximately 100,000 households on housing waiting lists across the state, these refurbished houses could be used to meet the demand for social housing which has reached unprecedented levels.
“Such a move would represent a government utilising European institutions in the best interests of ordinary citizens.
“There has been a 90% decrease in housing output from local authorities between 2007 and 2011. Since 2008, there has been an 80% reduction in capital expenditure for social housing.
“The government hasn’t taken any meaningful action to tackle the scale of the crisis. It has not a social housing build programme nor has it initiated a credible refurbishment programme of existing housing stock.
“The government will of course cite budgetary issues but such stock responses won’t address the housing crisis. It won’t get families off housing lists.
“Fine Gael and Labour could, if they wanted, apply for match funding in order to alleviate the fiscal restrictions to tackling the crisis and circumvent those budgetary issues.
“Our current MEPS should be pushing for such measures.
“We need MEPs with the political will to engage the institutions of the European Union in an effort to produce citizen-centred solutions to socio-economic problems in member state.”