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Environment Minister doctors housing list figures – reality much worse

10 December, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has today charged Environment Minister John Gormley of doctoring housing figures released by his department in an effort to hide the depth of the country's housing crisis. The Deputy was responding to figures released under the Department's three-yearly 'real needs' estimated housing statistics.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Figures released by the Department show that numbers on the housing list have increased by 30% since 2005 and have doubled over the last decade. These are shocking facts that illustrate clearly the failure of successive Fianna Fáil led governments to use the last decade's wealth for the benefit of working families and the vulnerable in Irish society.

"However what adds salt to the wounds of these figures is the fact that the numbers of families on the housing list actually exceeds the figure of 59,000 as stated by Minister Gormley.

"Dublin City Council's figure for those in need of social housing is 11,000 yet the figure given in the Department of the Environments report shows a figure of 4,500. The reason for this is that the Department of Environment instructed Dublin City Council to remove a number of household types from the department figures.

"Those living in local authority housing experiencing over crowding or material unsuitability were removed from the Departments housing list figures as were households living in private rental accommodation. In some instances the housing of these households is adequate for their needs however for others their current accommodation is totally unsuitable for their needs.

"It is unacceptable that Minister Gormley has sought to deliberately hide the extent of the Ireland's housing crisis from the members of the Oireachtas and the general public. It is also shocking that by removing such categories from Departments figures the government is essentially acknowledging that these peoples needs simply do not matter. It is a short term approach that only serves to light sugar coat a very bitter pill.

"This government has an appalling record of meeting social housing needs. It has failed to meet its own social and affordable housing targets by as much as 40% in recent years. Ireland needs a conclusive and rights based approach by government which could be simply achieved by enshrining into law a legal right to housing for those in need." ENDS

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