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Government should appoint a senior housing minister – Councillor Cathal King

1 October, 2014

Sinn Féin’s candidate for the Dublin South-West by-election, Councillor Cathal King, has called on the government to establish a full department with a focused responsibility for housing and to appoint a senior minister to the portfolio as a matter of urgency.

Speaking from the campaign trail today, Councillor King said;

“It is my view that the housing crisis demands the attention of full governmental department and ministry. It is a national crisis which has reached the status of an emergency.

“I have been dismayed and angered that, in the midst of the housing crisis being so incredibly serious, that this government scrapped the super-junior ministry for housing.

“However, it is not just about the current crisis. This crisis is a product of a mode of thinking at the heart of government which doesn’t see housing provision as a priority. A department of housing should be given the responsibility and resources needed to formulate and implement a national strategy for sustainable housing provision.

“The point would be to avoid a crisis, to ensure that families have access to affordable & quality housing and to devise government-led initiatives to deal with homelessness.

“Working in co-junction with Deputy Dessie Ellis, I will seek to put the establishment of such a department square and centre on the political agenda if I am elected to the Dáil.”

Speaking about his own record on housing as a councillor for Tallaght, Councillor King said he was proud to have given the issue the attention it warrants.

“Sinn Féin representatives are immersed in the communities that elected us. This is the reason I understand the scale of the crisis on the ground. It is the reason why I am fed up with the government paying lip-service to the dire need for a strategic response.

“Sinn Fein has a strong record of delivery on the council of which I am proud. This includes securing €5 million investment in the upgrading of social housing stock over the last five years. I used my council expenses to contribute to construction of a homeless shelter which was opened in 2013 and our council has the lowest percentage of boarded up housing in the State. What is needed is the government to work with local councils and start delivering. We need a holistic solution to the housing issue in this state and it should be delivered by a senior minister for housing.” ENDS

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