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Minister Ahern should focus on social housing, not affordable - Crowe

22 August, 2006


Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South-West Seán Crowe today welcomed the announcement by Minister of State for Housing Noel Ahern that he was examining the needs of low-income individuals who are unable to afford a mortgage. However, Deputy Crowe argued that the key to addressing the current housing crisis was to assist local authorities in building more social housing instead of so-called 'super affordable' houses.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "There are nearly 48,000 households on waiting lists for social housing across the state. Nearly 85% of these have annual incomes of less than €15,000 per annum. The emphasis that is being placed on affordable housing, rather than social housing, does not address any of the problems of these people, a significant proportion of whom are reliant on disability supports or long-term unemployed. These are the people left behind by this administration in every area of policymaking.

"If Minister Ahern was committed to solving the housing crisis he would stop kite-flying and ensure that the NESC recommendations for a net increase of 73,000 units of social housing are included in the National Development Plan and not place the emphasis on affordable housing. A Government promise of 17,000 affordable housing units between 2007 and 2009 is simply not good enough.

"The fact that Part V of the Planning Act has been so watered down at the behest of developers is a huge factor in the lack of social housing. Sinn Féin has continually opposed the get out clause that allows builders to hand over money rather than actual housing units. This should never have been allowed happen. The housing crisis in this state is an embarrassment to this Government and it is high time they woke up to this."

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