A recovery that is fair would address the housing crisis - Senator David Cullinane
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has said that any recovery, if it is to fair, must address the housing crisis in a strategic and joined-up manner.
Senator Cullinane made the comments at a public meeting tonight as he joined with Cllr Johnny Mythen, the Sinn Féin general election candidate for Wexford, at a public meeting in Enniscorthy to put forward the party's proposals for achieving a fair economic and social recovery.
"It is clear that the two-tier recovery, envisaged by the government, will not address the continuing decimation of our vital public services and social infrastructure. Resolving the current housing and homelessness crisis is an issue that comes immediately to mind when discussing a fair recovery. You cannot argue that a recovery is fair if it does not address the housing crisis in an effective and meaningful way - that means building social housing.
"The government does not have a strategy for tackling the housing crisis. Any time it has broached the issue, it has done so in a tokenistic and haphazard way. We saw this last year when, following the tragic death of Jonathan Corrie, Minister Alan Kelly promised the sun, the moon and stars.
"When we looked at the proposals, it was very obvious that Minister Kelly's plan was big on grand headline grabbing gestures but lacking in substance. In the end, there wasn't a plan in any credible sense. We have seen the fruits of this approach with Dublin City Council being left short €18.5 million for their housing budget in the allocation made by Minister Kelly's department. We see it in the fact that the number of homeless families has risen by 55% since the start of 2015. This government simply doesn't take the housing crisis seriously. And ordinary people are paying the price.
"The Department of Social Protection is currently writing to those on the housing list demanding that they register for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) while being in the full knowledge that landlords are not signing up in the numbers needed to make it a viable scheme. This is just one example of the utterly disjointed approach taken by the government in this area.
"Despite the crisis, Fine Gael and Labour would rather tailor their budget in October to give the better-off in society more goodies rather than directing the necessary resources towards housing.
"We need action, not fancy PR exercises. We need a government with the political-will to meet the housing crisis head-on. In government, Sinn Féin would invest €1 Billion from the Strategic Investment Fund to build an additional 6,000 new homes in 2016.
“This is the type of action that would be taken by a party that is committed to delivering a fair recovery."