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Government approach to housing ‘a monument to absurdity’ – Cullinane

13 July, 2011

The approach taken by the government to dealing with the oversupply of housing is absurd and in urgent need of review, according to Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane.

Speaking in the Seanad today on a debate on unfinished housing estates Senator Cullinane said:

“It’s important in the course of this debate, to remind ourselves how we got to our current difficult juncture. Much of it was down to corrupt and incompetent building practices, and speculative and foolhardy building. The developers who were party to this irresponsible development are now being rewarded by this government. It’s laughable.

“In my view the government’s insistence on putting more and more money the way of these developers, who got us in to our present difficulties is a monument to their absurdity.

“We need to act now as regards these unfinished developments and ensure that every effort is made to support residents living in the estates and the make best use of the unsold properties.

“To take just one example, of Parc na mBlath in Ballinroad, Dungarvan, a lack of proper planning and infrastructure provision has let down the residents in this estate The lack of a proper water supply has led to residents having to change shower units on several occasions. The absence of proper lighting is a problem as is the lack of a proper footpath leading to the Ballindud Roundabout. This leaves residents unable to link safely with a nearby amenity involving cycle paths and walkways.

“I’m sure that these type of stories are happening all over the country. The € 5m which has been allocated for public safety funding is welcome, but is far, far too little.’

“All of this, incredibly, is happening at a time, when housing lists across the country are rising, and where citizens are being denied their rights to housing. I recall from my time as a Waterford Councillor being told by the City manager, that there wasn’t likely to be any capital funding for housing this year, nor for next year, and not even the year after that.

“There needs to be a social dividend from NAMA. I see no reason why these empty houses cannot be used for social housing, particularly as millions of Euro are continually being given to landlords for the Rental Accommodation Scheme.’

“The Government seems perfectly willing and able to give money hand over fist to developers who contributed so much to our current plight, yet they blind to the needs of the thousands of citizens on waiting lists. This is madness, and needs to end now; people are entitled to a place to live, and we should not allow our citizen’s be denied that in the interests of Bondholders and developers.” ENDS

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