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Deputy Jerry Buttimer talking rubbish on Housing Crisis on Vincent Browne debate - Cllr Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

10 February, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said comments made by Jerry Buttimer's about the social housing crisis during last night’s Vincent Brown debate were inaccurate and amounted to an attempt to abdicate responsibility.

The Sinn Féin General Election candidate was responding to remarks made by Deputy Buttimer in the televised, where he put the blame on Cork City Council for not building Social Housing.

Councillor Ó Laoghaire said;

"The social housing crisis is an issue of great seriousness, affecting tens of thousands of people. There are between 90,000 and 130,000 households on waiting lists throughout the state, some 13,000 here in Cork alone. Over 1,500 children are in emergency accommodation, and Cork Simon and other shelters are permanently over capacity.

"Fine Gael, and Labour, have been in power for five years now, and it is not good enough that they simply make sympathetic noises towards the thousands of homeless families living in emergency accommodation; they have to take responsibility."

"They may have inherited a Housing Crisis from Fianna Fáil, but the situation now is even more drastic, and the Government has failed to make any serious intervention to tackle it. For example, in the first 6 months of 2015, only 499 social houses were build in this state, down from 4,209 in 2005.

"Deputy Buttimer is talking rubbish when blaming others for this drastic situation."

"He knows perfectly well that Cork City Council could not draw down the funds to which he was referring. They hadn't the staff or resources to do it, due to the massive cuts to local government.  It's widely known that the window of time, in which to spend that funding, is extremely and unreasonably narrow, and that his party has been responsible for stripping local authorities of the staff and vital resources necessary to put that money to work. The local authorities weren't given a real chance."

"Cork City Council is not perfect and has much room to improve the Housing Service they deliver. However, it is obvious to anyone, who wishes to examine the issue, that the main reason that Social Housing has not been built and is not being built, is due to a lack of funding from National Government.

"Deputy Buttimer, not for the first time, is trying to pass the blame on to Local Authorities. This is part of a Government strategy to distance itself from a crisis for which they are responsible, and that is very wrong.

"Furthermore, I do not believe that his Government’s Housing Strategy will succeed, it is far too dependent on meeting Social Housing need through the private market and will not increase supply by anything near what is needed.

"After a full term in office, the Government of the day have to take responsibility for the humanitarian crisis we are dealing with in housing. The people of Cork South Central will not allow Deputy Buttimer and Fine Gael, or indeed the Labour Party, to wash their hands of the Housing Crisis."

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