Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin seeks meeting with Minister regarding Dublin City Council's proposal in relation to sale of flats

3 August, 2004


Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. has confirmed that his party has requested a meeting with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Martin Cullen T.D. in relation to the proposal by Dublin City Council to offer its stock of almost 16,500 council flats for sale to its tenants.

Deputy Morgan said

"Sinn Fein is seeking a meeting with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Martin Cullen T.D. in relation to the proposal by Dublin City Council to offer its stock of almost 16,500 council flats for sale to its tenants.

"Some time back Dublin City Council indicated its intention to end its involvement in the provision of social housing. We believe the latest proposals from City Council represent another significant move in that direction. While recognising that tenants often wish to buy their flats and that tenants in local authority houses already have that right, our concerns are centred around the fact that unless there is a significant social housing building programme put in place, the proposals from Dublin City Council will result in a dramatic diminution in the level of local authority social housing rental stock. While some will no doubt benefit from this move by being enabled to move onto the property ladder, many will suffer as a result of it. We have been given no indication regarding how the City Council proposes to house those in need of social housing once its social housing stock has been sold off. The revenue raised from the sale would not be enough to build replacement units given the cost of building land in the Dublin area. We are concerned that the most disadvantaged and marginalized in the City will suffer as a result of these moves. We believe it is part of a wider agenda by Dublin City Council to abandon its role in housing provision to which Minister Cullen and the Government are acquiescing. The other component of this agenda is the handing over of local authority flats complexes to the semi-private or voluntary housing sector.

"There is no reason that the social housing rental sector cannot work if proper maintenance and management procedures are put in place. It is the failure of consecutive governments to make adequate revenue available for the upkeep of local authority housing that is responsible for the fact that many flats complexes and housing estates have fallen into disrepair. Consecutive governments have failed to ensure that these flats and estates have a social mix along with proper facilities and amenities. The lack of such amenities is largely responsible for the social problems which have characterised many local authority flats complexes and estates. The City Council is attempting to tell us that it is only through the ownership of private property that people will maintain their properties. This is disingenuous given the fact that most local authority tenants go to great lengths to maintain both the interior and exterior of their properties and are badly let down by the failure of the Council to carry out necessary maintenance works.

"The only solution to the housing crisis in this state is the construction of more social housing, to increase the level of social rental housing stocks which have now hit an all time low. This is the only way we can end homelessness and ensure that all those resident in the State have access to proper housing, regardless of their income. Sinn Féin will be raising our concerns with Minister Cullen as soon as he makes himself available to meet with us. We will be making clear our opposition to all attempts by local authorities to abandon their responsibilities with regard to the provision of social housing." ENDS

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