Empty social housing ‘beggars belief and defies logic’ – Ó Caoláin
Speaking in the Dáil this evening on proposed Sinn Féin legislation, Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin remarked that one year on from the shocking and tragic passing of Jonathan Corrie, who died in the shadow of Leinster House, the Government response has failed to materialise.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Fr Peter McVerry, a Trojan campaigner for the homeless, said yesterday on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that homelessness is even worse today than this time last year.
“It would break the coldest of hearts to see the number of people cold and hungry on the streets of our capital city. Yesterday marked the 1st anniversary of the death of Jonathan Corrie who passed away in a doorway in the shadow of this very building. We were united in our grief.
“This Government pledged to address this issue. The Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, convened an emergency summit on homelessness and the immediate response was to make an additional 220 emergency beds available in Dublin. This was not enough then and it is not enough now.
“The homelessness and housing emergency ravages on.
“The issue of homelessness is not exclusive to Dublin or other major urban centres. Some 1,327 individuals and families are currently on the housing waiting lists across Co. Monaghan. In sheer desperation people are coming to our elected team on an almost daily basis telling their own personal stories and expressing their sheer frustration at the length of time they have been waiting for a house, somewhere they can call home.
“It was recently revealed that there are 28 vacant council houses available in Co. Monaghan. I reiterate a point I made a number of weeks back when I said that it beggars belief and defies logic that these houses are lying idle when there are over 1300 applicants on housing waiting lists across the county.
“A sea-change in Government policy is needed. This Bill provides us with the perfect opportunity to move forward and to do something that actually works. I therefore call on all TD’s to do the right thing and vote in favour of this Bill.”