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Action now required from Minister on scandalous conditions in private rental sector – Munster

9 November, 2017 - by Imelda Munster TD

The government’s record on housing has been blasted by the Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, this week in the Dáil.

Speaking during Sinn Féin’s Private Member’s Motion on standards in the rental sector, Deputy Munster criticised Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy TD, saying that action was needed to address the crisis in the rental sector, and not “defensive bullshit”.

Deputy Munster said:

“Thousands of tenants are currently living in slum accommodation and grossly substandard accommodation. I see these people week in week out in my clinics. How is it that the Minister seems to be unaware of it, and has done nothing to address it? It must be the case that Minister Murphy does not have the will to deal with this situation in any meaningful way, and that’s why he isn’t prepared to tackle it.”

Deputy Munster also criticised the government’s Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), saying the scheme is merely a means of forcing people on the housing list into private rental accommodation to massage housing list numbers.

“HAP is designed to make the housing list look shorter, but by forcing people from the list into private rental housing the government is using tax-payers money to subsidise landlords, some of whom are greedy slum landlords. This system creates more problems and solves none. People are still living in doorways and on riverbanks. Thousands of children remain homeless and the housing lists are astronomical.

“My party introduced this motion to push the government to take action and ensure there is protection for tenants in private rental accommodation. It is designed to try to push the government to provide funding and resources in order that inspections can be carried out and in order that one can ensure there is compliance and a minimum standard of regulation in the private rental sector. There is no protection at present.

“I am disappointed that the government did not vote in favour of the motion, however we know by now that we can’t expect Fine Gael and their Independent colleagues to do the right thing. I am pleased that the motion passed, and I really hope that this will push the Minister to take action to improve the standard of living for thousands of people who are currently living in desperate conditions.” 

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