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Let’s separate the reality from the rhetoric on housing – Reilly

11 February, 2015 - by Kathryn Reilly


Speaking this evening in the Seanad, Sinn Fein’s Senator Kathryn Reilly refused to support a self-congratulatory Private Members Business tabled by the Labour Party. The PMB, which praised Labour’s housing strategy, was little more than a back patting exercise.

Senator Reilly said:

“The government’s arrogance on the housing crisis was summed up today when we had Minister Alan Kelly calling on social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry to be more positive in his comments on the housing and homelessness crisis. But more than most, Fr McVerry who works at the coalface knows the reality is very different from the rhetoric in this crisis.”

 “The government’s strategy is to spend marginally more than was spent in the last 6 years on housing and hope that somehow that will deliver an acceptable level of housing. The entire strategy, despite the misleading characterisations of it in the motion and by the government generally, is based on the idea that the private market will save the day. It cannot and it will not.”

“The reality is that the state through local authorities has far too low a stake in housing and has failed miserably a section of society that the private market is unwilling or unable to provide for.”

“Private landlords, despite what some government members would tell you, are not in the business of renting rooms out of philanthropy; to believe so it to indulge in gross self-deception, or stupidity, and to behave as this were true is certainly dishonest.”

“We must build more social housing through local authorities by investing in local authority housing. Furthermore, we need regulation of the rent market which will set a market rate, not purely based on the desperation of renters to have a roof over their head, but on quality of accommodation and the consumer price index and limit landlords ability to raise rents to a certain percentage between tenancies and during tenancies which will foster a more secure rental market and encourage more responsible and professional landlords into the private market.”

“The evidence shows clearly the only solution is more housing and cheaper housing. It is quite clearly the responsibility of the government to deliver on this. Until that is the strategy no back slapping is needed.” 

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