Meath housing occupation ‘latest stage of the escalating housing crisis’ – Tóibín
Sinn Féin TD and Cathaoirleach of the Meath Housing Campaign Peadar Tóibín has stated ‘that while no one can condone that illegal occupation of a house, as the housing crisis escalates families are being forced into desperate actions in order to put a roof over their children’s heads’.
This comes after a Meath family occupied a Local Authority house in Navan in recent days. The family were living in accommodation that they allege was substandard and led to their child contracting pneumonia. The family have engaged with the council over the last few months in an effort to secure an acceptable alternative but to no avail.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“There are well over 4,500 people on the housing waiting list in Meath at the moment. Last year, over 700 people presented as homeless to Meath County Council. Rents are skyrocketing in the county and rental availability is shrinking. Emergency accommodation in the county is shockingly substandard and is reducing in availability
“Indeed, people who formerly lived in the east of the county have been forced to move the west of the county and then on to Cavan and Monaghan to secure properties that they can afford. Under the government’s housing capital investment plan, only 134 new houses will be built. No new Local Authority housing stock will be completed in Meath this year and the funding delivered is only 33% of what the county needs. Meath’s housing allocation is 54% lower than the national average despite our burgeoning population.
“It is clear that, as the crisis becomes more acute, people are being pushed to desperate measures. The trouble with this is that Local Authorities will be forced to spend more money on security for empty houses and more money trying to repossess these homes. This money will no doubt come out of the miniscule housing budget and slow the process for those who are waiting in Meath since 2008 on the Housing List. The government must get real with regards the scale of the building project and they must turn voids around quicker. They have sat on their hands for long enough.”