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Government have no grasp of scale of housing crisis or solutions – Ellis

8 September, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that the government have no grasp of the scale of the housing crisis and are not prepared or willing to make the decisions needed to end it. He was responding to comments by the Minister of State for Housing Paudie Coffey TD on RTÉ radio this morning.

Minister Coffey denied that nearly 130,000 families are now in housing need in the state, claiming that figures which were calculated in 2013 were more accurate.

Deputy Ellis said:

“I'm not remotely surprised that the government does not know the realities of the housing crisis, nor am I surprised that the Ministers responsible were misleading us with out of date figures, but it is an insult to the intelligence of the public that Minister Coffey would try to tell us two year old data is more reliable than new data from the same bodies.

“This follows on from revelations earlier this year that the Department of Environment had encouraged staff to ‘spin’ claims by the government that they were dealing with the housing crisis.

“We know that this government have done more to put people on the streets than they have to house them. Cuts to basic social welfare supports, lone parents’ and young people’s dole and rent supplement have led to many people losing their homes while the government have failed to tackle rising rents and presided over a system which has seen a massive increase in homelessness with over 1,100 children in emergency accommodation.

“This government has put people to the pin of their collar. We know that housing need has risen by 45% in just two years under this governments watch.

“This attempt to mislead the public by Minister Coffey draws his suitability for the role into serious question. What is not in any doubt is that this government continue to fail to act to build social housing, tackle rising rents and prevent more families becoming homeless. No amount of spin or burying their heads in the sand will change that, only decisive action and dedication.” 

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