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Sinn Féin Children’s Spokesperson welcomes Ombudsman’s Report

14 October, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Children Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today welcomed the report of the Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan on the provision of housing for children with special needs.

Speaking on the report, Deputy Ó Caoláin stated that the Government and all local authorities must work tirelessly to improve housing provision for children with special needs and that the level of need is nowhere near adequately catered for.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “Sinn Féin have long advocated that all new build accommodation be built under lifetime adaptability guidelines to enable people with special needs to live full lives in accommodation that is suitable for them. There are 59,000 families in need of social housing, many of whom have been waiting five or six years to be housed. A number of these have specific accommodation requirements because there is a child with special needs in the family unit. Five years is too long for that child to live in inadequate housing.

“Local authorities should take a child-centred approach when housing people. The best interests of the child should be among the deciding factors when making decisions regarding housing. Children’s needs should be prioritised during the allocation process.

“There needs to be a reorientation of housing policy towards the provision of social housing – poor levels of social housing stock are compounding the problems faced by people in need of social housing.

“Sinn Féin are calling on local authorities and the Government to work proactively in meaningful consultation and partnership with the families of children who have special needs in order to ensure they are provided with suitable housing and at the earliest time possible after the application is received.” ENDS

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