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Government wasting billions on sub-standard accommodation – Ó Snodaigh

19 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has accused the Government of wasting billions of Euros on sub-standard accommodation for those on the Rent Supplement Scheme. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said had the Government properly invested in social and affordable housing then during the years of the Celtic Tiger then we would not be continuing to spend up to €400million per year on private accommodation for local authority tenants.

He said, "The Rent Supplement Scheme was originally intended to be a stop gap measure to help those who are in need of social housing. However as continuous Fianna Fáil led Governments neglected the provision of social housing during the years of the economic boom the waiting lists grew and the rent supplement scheme became more of a permanent payment.

"As a result of this some 60,000 people are now in receipt of the rent supplement at a cost of up to €400million per year. Had the Government properly invested in the provision of social and affordable housing during the years of the economic boom billions of euros could have been saved by now.

"Indeed had Part 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 been properly implemented serious inroads could have been made on the housing of those on the waiting lists. Instead Fianna Fáil amended the Act in 2002 to allow developers to buy their way out of their obligations to provide social and affordable housing in every new housing development.

"We now have hundreds of millions of euros being spent each and every year to house people in accommodation much of which doesn't even meet minimum standards. Young families have been left in terrible situations with no hot water, damp rooms, no heating, and in some cases tenants have been living in vermin invested properties. And this is all in the modern Ireland of 2008.

"This is unacceptable and I would call on the Government to ensure that all local authorities set in place time-framed plans to house all of those on the waiting list and those trapped in sub-standard accommodation. This would require that Part 5 of the Planning and Development Act is implemented as it was originally planned - not just to provide social and affordable housing but to promote social integration." ENDS

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