Speaking in the Seanad today on the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 Sinn Fein Senator Kathryn Reilly said the bill is an attack on the notion of social housing.
She said the bill not only fails to provide any solutions to the housing problems but actually seeks to sweep the problem under the carpet.
Senator Reilly said:
“This is the first substantial piece of housing legislation this government has introduced in its three years in office. It not only fails to provide any solutions to our housing problems but it actively seeks to sweep the problem under the carpet.
“The 90,000 applicants on waiting lists are not a problem of definition. They are men, women and children in need of a secure affordable home.
“The Bill being presented is quite clearly an attack on the very notion of social housing. Private accommodation is by its definition insecure. It is open to the whim of the market and the landlord. It has not served as a good option for those on low incomes, precarious employment or unemployed.
“We have seen in recent years and months many more families in danger of losing their homes or actually being put out on the streets due to the whim of landlords. Tenants are not being protected.
“The people who are being squeezed, understandably do not trust this government to fix the problems. Sinn Fein has submitted amendments at Dáil stages and will do so again in the Seanad. These amendments will seek to bring clarity to the bill and protect the interests of those with a housing need.
“We will also propose better models for tenant/authority engagement on issues such as rent repayments and oppose the plan to deduct rent arrears from source with no stipulation as to when this model can and can’t be enforced.
“Housing is a right and those in need of housing as well as social housing tenants deserve to have that right protected and upheld and to be treated with dignity and respect.”