Housing, health and water are the issues the people want discussed – Ellis
Dublin Sinn Féin TDs Louise O’Reilly, Seán Crowe, and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis were outside the GPO today to talk on a Bill Sinn Féin are preparing which would act to prevent homelessness and provide for rent certainty. The TDs said that while the issue of Dáil reform, which took up most of the time in the first meeting of the 32nd Dáil, is important, the people of Dublin who voted for them did so in order to see a strong party that would bring the issues of water, health and housing to the fore.
This comes as 209 families in Tyrellstown face immediate eviction as their rented accommodation has been bought by vulture funds. The focus now must be on forming a government so that progressive Bills such as this can be presented to the House and solutions found to the critical issues facing the country.
Deputy O’Reilly said:
“The recent general election saw the government lose the largest majority this country has ever seen. They did so because they failed the people of Ireland. They failed those who languished on hospital trolleys. They failed the 1,800 children who are growing up in emergency accommodation. They failed the hundreds of thousands of homes who were hit with a range of stealth taxes while they were already struggling to cope against the recession and crippling austerity.
“They failed and now we see the result. Nearly 300,000 people gave their first preference vote to Sinn Féin, an additional 100,000 voted for other Right2Change candidates. This was a clear rejection of the unfair recovery that Fine Gael and Labour had presided over for five years.”
Deputy Ellis spoke of the potential of the Bill to address the issue of homelessness:
“The Bill we are preparing seeks to amend the Housing Act of 1988 to update the definition of homelessness and bring in new responsibilities for Local Authorities in dealing with homelessness and people affected by it.
“It provides for the Local Authority to consider the position of families and individuals at risk of homelessness, as well as those already experiencing it, and so compels the authority to act in a preventative way.
“The Bill would provide for interventions which would prevent homelessness and adequately deal with the problem to ensure the housing of people who need support.
“A crucial point of this amendment is to open resources to those who have not previously experienced homelessness, so as to prevent them from falling into the trap of homelessness, or quickly remedy an individual crisis.”
Deputy Crowe concluded in saying:
“200 families in Tyrellstown have been served notice that they are to be evicted from their rented accommodation. How can we in good conscious sit in the Dáil and not act immediately to prevent this spiral of homelessness from claiming more and more families as the weeks go by?
“If this Dáil is to mean anything, then Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour must break their cosy consensus and start talking about the issues that they worked together to keep off the agenda on Thursday. The next Dáil debate must involve the issues of water charges, housing and homelessness, and the crisis in our health services. Fianna Fáil were happy to tell the voters that they would work to see water charges abolished, yet they showed at the first opportunity that they had simply used the anger of the Irish people as an electioneering device. Sinn Féin will do all in our power to fulfil and respect the mandate that our voters have entrusted to us.”