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Fine Gael and Labour made an already dysfunctional housing system worse – Ó Broin

22 March, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Eoin Ó Broin has derided Fianna Fáil for creating a dysfunctional housing system which was further devastated by the chronic mismanagement of Fine Gael and Labour. Deputy Ó Broin said that if we are serious about tackling that crisis, we need to start making different decisions.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Homeless is not an accident. It is a symptom of a housing system that doesn’t work; it is the result of decisions by Government. The number of families without a home is growing and these families do not need words. They need actions. They need to know what we are going to do to give them a home.

“Our dysfunctional housing system was created by Fianna Fáil. That is not my view; it is an objective fact. In 1997, there were 28,000 families on the housing list. After a decade of Fianna Fáil government, the waiting list had quadrupled to almost 100,000. This happened because Fianna Fáil refused to invest in social housing; they refused to regulate the market. They did what they always do; they looked after the developers and left the rest of us to look after ourselves.

“Fine Gael and Labour inherited a housing system in crisis. I accept that, but what Enda Kenny and Joan Burton did then was to turn a crisis into a catastrophe. They cut spending on social housing by €200m – bringing local authority construction to a grinding halt. They cut rent supplement – creating a new wave of family homelessness.

“They announced a housing plan which was badly designed, poorly funded and destined to fail. Minister Kelly even claimed that this was the most ambitious social housing programme in the history of the state. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of housing policy knowns this is simply not true.

“This was Fianna Fáil housing policy on steroids

“We must bring this crisis to an end. Spiralling rents must be held in check through rent certainty and rent supplement increases. Evictions must be reduced through greater protection for tenants.

“Banks selling off their mortgage books at a discount to vulture funds must be forced to give home owners first option on such write downs.

“We need up to 40,000 social homes over the next five years, not subsidised private rented homes, but real social housing to meet the needs of real families. These homes will not only benefit those on social housing waiting lists, they would also reduce demand on the private sector –bringing down rents and house prices – and stabilising the housing system as a whole.

“If we are serious about tackling that crisis, we need to start making different decisions.” 

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