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Sinn Féin Better4Housing plan will address the housing crisis in Cork - Jonathan O’Brien TD

7 December, 2015 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin in Cork today unveiled the party’s plan to address the housing crisis and Cork North Central TD Jonathan O’Brien said the policy will deliver 100,000 new social and affordable homes, security for renters, and supports for homeowners and buyers.

Speaking this morning at the launch of the plan in the Commons Inn, Deputy O’Brien said;

“Cork is in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis and the policies of the current government are not geared toward ending it. The crisis is the legacy from decades of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour Party administrations. It did not happened by accident.

“In Cork, we have frighteningly high levels of homelessness , soaring rents, and 15,000 households languishing on housing waiting lists. That is unacceptable and this government has sat back and allowed the situation to develop into a national emergency. Any intervention made by the Fine Gael and Labour Party coalition has only served to make things worse.

“In my view, the aim of the current government is to completely rid the state of its responsibility to provide social and affordable housing, thereby pushing struggling families into the private market where they face exorbitant rents. The needs of landlords, developers and bankers have been made a priority over the needs of citizens. Profit is put above everything and ordinary people in Cork are paying a heavy price.

“The government’s laissez-faire style approach to the crisis has been a disaster for families and homeowners. In their 5 years in government, Fine Gael and the Labour Party failed to address the housing crisis, not because they couldn’t but because they made the political choice to not even try. The resources are there to solve the crisis but central government are not making those resources available to local authorities. Fine Gael TDs in this city prefer to go around blaming everybody else for the mess they created.

“We see the results of their housing policy in the form of the ever-increasing numbers of people sleeping in doorways across Cork City. The Cork Simon Outreach Team met 63 people sleeping rough on the streets of Cork last month. They say that average of almost 12 people per night were sleeping rough. Simon has supported 335 people sleeping rough this year. That figure represents 23% increase compared to the same eleven-month period in 2014. Again, this has not happened by accident.

“Sinn Féin is the party that will build quality homes and inclusive communities in Cork and across the island.

“We believe that everyone in this country has the right to a home.

“The plan we launched today is about ensuring that this right is realised. A progressive, Sinn Féin led government will deliver 100,000 new homes, will deliver security and certainty for tenants, and will support homeowners and buyers. We need to stop the profiteering of banks at the cost of mortgage holders.

“We are quite clearly saying, without reservation, that this crisis can be brought to an end. It is time for the government to state that their inability to resolve the problem is as result of their ideology rather than any practical restrictions. Instead of using the word ‘cant’ they should be using the word ‘wont’. That is the truth of the matter.

“The Better4Housing policy is Sinn Féin’s plan to meet the crisis head-on. Sinn Féin in government will deliver that plan.”

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