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Major housing crisis continues - Doherty

8 July, 2008 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in the Seanad today Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty said there is a major crisis in housing throughout the state. Senator Doherty said despite what is happening in the housing market home ownership remains spectacularly our of reach of those on low and middle incomes, rents in the private sector are soaring and there is a lack of social housing with 44,000 on waiting lists throughout the state.

He said, "Today there is a major crisis in housing throughout the state. This crisis has emerged unhindered as a result of the policies of the Government.

"Despite what is currently happening in the property market, home ownership is spectacularly out of reach for those people on low or even average incomes. There is a shameful lack of social housing for the 44,000 households who linger on the social housing waiting lists of our local authorities. And the misnomer that is 'affordable housing' continues to depend on the will of the Developer and Part V of the wholly inadequate Planning and Developments Acts.

"Rents are soaring in the private rented sector which is made up of low quality, high cost accommodation and the Government is happily subsidising private landlords to house people on rent supplement - those people who should be living in social housing.

"The current system has clearly been designed to benefit a certain type of person - the developer, the speculator, the landowners, estate agents and management companies, and of course, the establishment parties that they sponsor.

"Government failure in housing and its dependence on voluntary housing associations can often lead to problems further down the line when families grow and newer, more modern accommodation is needed. The use of voluntary housing associations also rules out the possibility of families buying their homes when the find themselves positioned to do so.

"It is now clear in July of 2008 that the Government are unlikely to meet their own commitment of ending long-term homelessness in the state in 2010. This is nothing short of a disgrace. There are no plans to fast-track social housing for those most in need. There are no plans to introduce an implementation plan outlining funding commitments and targets for any new housing strategy despite previous Ministerial commitments to do exactly that." ENDS

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