Housing crisis warrants attention above smokescreen of political reform – McDonald
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald, emphasised the necessity of dealing with the state’s housing and homelessness crisis over and above political posturing on parliamentary reform.
Speaking today, Deputy McDonald said:
“At a time of record increases in housing waiting lists, soaring rents and a rampant homeless crisis, this Dáil should not be distracted by the smoke and mirrors of parliamentary reform. Yes there are grounds for reform and it could have all been done over the last five years.
“There are more pressing matters that should concern us here. According to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, the number of new families who become homeless most recently, went from 41 families in December to 125 in January of this year.
“These shocking figures stand beside other equally harrowing statistics. There are approximately 5,715 homeless across the country, 1,830 of whom are children. Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 43% increase in the number of people recorded as being homeless.
“We need robust and imaginative solutions amongst the many measures that would go some way towards resolving the housing and homeless crises. A radical restructuring of the rent supplement system, along side regulatory measures that reduce rents and put controls on any future rent increases.
“The paltry number of council houses built last year a mere 28, makes zero impact on the growing homeless crisis. At least 100,000 social houses need to be built over the next 15 years.
“We should also enshrine in the constitution an individuals ‘right to a home’. Don’t let the mark of this new Dáil be a continuation be the lack lustre, ineffectual, uncaring and negligent response of previous governments.”