Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ó Caoláin outlines detail of joint Sinn Féin Labour Party motion on housing and homelessness

16 December, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Speaking at a media event at Leinster House today Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD outlined the detail of a joint Sinn Féin Labour Party motion on social housing and homelessness which will be debated in the Dáil this evening and tomorrow evening. Deputy Ó Caoláin said his party and Labour are joining together to highlight the appalling record of this Government on social housing and homelessness and to put forward concrete proposals address these glaring social needs.

He said, "Sinn Féin and the Labour Party will this evening jointly table a Dáil motion on social housing and homelessness.

"This government has an appalling record of meeting social housing needs and is failing to meet the urgent needs of society. The Government has failed even to meet its own social and affordable housing targets by as much as 40% in recent years and this week we saw the Minister attempt to manipulate the published figures to mask the seriousness of the problem.

"Figures released by the Department of the Environment show that numbers on the housing list have increased by 30% since 2005 and have doubled over the last decade. Minister Finneran has admitted that at least 59,000 families are on the housing list. And it is our view that these figures underestimate the true level of need as many in need of housing were not included in the published figures.

"At a time when housing need across the state remains high and the construction industry is in crisis there is a responsibility on government to increase investment in housing in order to stabilise the economy and meet housing need.

"The level of homelessness continues to be at a serious level with an estimated 5,000 experiencing homelessness at any one time. And there are growing concerns at the increase in the number of repossessions, illegal evictions and problems facing people in rental accommodation.

"Among the measures which the two parties are calling for are:

- The acquisition, where possible, of existing unsold housing units from the private sector

- The construction of an additional 10,000 social housing units each year for the next three years;

- Adequately resource and fully implement, 'The Way Home', a strategy to address adult homelessness;

- Negotiate a new code of practice with the financial institutions providing for a moratorium on repossession orders for family homes during the current recession;

- A national inspection regime regarding housing standards in the rental sector;

- Strengthen the powers of local authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour;

- Broaden the terms of the current tenant purchase scheme along with allowing local authority tenants the right to buy their apartments." ENDS

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