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Morgan - Housing Minister should be sacked for incompetence

5 March, 2005


Arthur Morgan T.D. moving motion 146 on behalf of the Ard Comhairle commenting on the failure of the government to address the worst housing crisis this state has ever seen said "Under their watch, since 1997, average house prices have escalated from an €102,200 to €249,000 for new houses and €102,700 to €293,000 for second hand houses. The numbers on housing waiting lists have increased by 77%. The Minister for State with responsibility for housing Noel Ahern should be sacked for incompetence. " Deputy Morgan said:

The Fianna Fáil PD Government have stood over what is arguably the worst housing crisis this state has ever seen. It is characterised by colossal increases in house prices, lengthening social housing waiting lists, irresponsible planning and construction of sprawling housing estates in the counties surrounding Dublin, persistent high levels of homelessness and the failure of local authorities to implement traveller accommodation programmes.

Under their watch, since 1997, average house prices have escalated from an €102,200 to €249,000 for new houses and €102,700 to €293,000 for second hand houses. The numbers on housing waiting lists have increased by 77%.

The Minister for State with responsibility for housing Noel Ahern should be sacked for incompetence.

I would like to put on record Sinn Féin's welcome for the recently published NESC report Housing in Ireland: Performance and Policy. Sinn Féin is fully in agreement with the Council's view that housing is a key determinant of economic and social well-being and progress in Ireland. I reiterate Sinn Féin's call for the right to housing to be given constitutional recognition.

We fully support and will campaign for the implementation of recommendations from the NESC for an increase of permanent social housing units, owned and managed by local authorities of approximately 73,000 units between 2005 and 2012.

Such an increase in social housing stock is desperately needed. Since 1996 there was an increase of 20,986 or 77%, in numbers of households on waiting lists while only 5.7% of houses completed in the first 9 months of 2004 were social housing. 40% of those in the private rented sector are in receipt of rent supplement -- these people should surely be housed in the social rented sector.

Sinn Féin is adamant that there shall be no dilution in the State's responsibility for housing provision. We will oppose all attempts by local authorities to abandon their responsibilities for the provision of housing. Sinn Féin strongly supports increased and sustained funding of local authorities to provide social housing. This is vital to provide access to housing for vulnerable and low incomes households who cannot secure housing by other means. We believe that Part V of the Planning and Development Act, as a mechanism to achieve greater social integration in new private developments, if amended and refocused, has the potential to deliver a significant quantity of social housing.

Sinn Féin will continue to fight and campaign for appropriate and affordable housing for all.

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