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Housing should be a right not a privilege – Dessie Ellis TD

29 September, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Dessie Ellis TD, spoke about the dire need for investment in social housing given the deepening crisis in housing and homelessness that is facing thousands of individuals and families across the state.

Speaking this evening during Sinn Féin Private Members’ Motion on housing, Deputy Ellis said:

“Today we face a housing and homelessness crisis of epic proportions described by Minister Alan Kelly as a humanitarian crisis. There are currently 130,000 applications on housing waiting lists across the country and since this government has come to power in 2011 an average of 400 social housing units were built annually, which goes nowhere near meeting the needs of these people. 

“There are 5,000 homeless people and 1,500 children living in emergency accommodation on a daily basis, with 80 news families a month reporting homeless. We have 130 individuals sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin every night.

"Through this Bill we call on Dáil Éireann to recognise the scale of the crisis we as a nation are now experiencing resulting from the policy of this and previous governments. We call on the Dáil to accept that bad planning and bad governance as well as the incentivisation of private sector delivery of social housing needs has directly resulted in the horrendous situation tens of thousands of people find themselves in.

“The appalling deaths of Jonathan Corrie, and more recently Alan Murphy who both passed away in the cold near the gates of this house is an indictment of our society and government policy. In response to the death of Mr Corrie last year, 260 extra beds were provided. Now those sleeping rough have doubled since 2014 since Jonathan’s death.

“Every person in Ireland has the right to quality housing, regardless of income, age, economic or other affiliation or status, and has a right to freedom from discrimination in housing. We propose that housing should be a right not a privilege and enshrined in our constitution.

“This government has failed in all of these areas and lives have been put at risk. We call on all TDs of every persuasion to support our PMB and to acknowledge that this crisis is impacting on a huge segment of our population, both men, women and children and I call on your support.”

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