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Adams challenges Taoiseach on escalating housing crisis

8 October, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that despite the huge distress being caused to families and individuals by the housing crisis, the Government does not appear to have any plan to deal with it.

Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil today Gerry Adams said:

“Yesterday you asked about Sinn Fein’s Budget proposals. This morning I delivered a copy of those proposals to you. It contains proposals to Rebuild the economy, Renew society and Repair the community in a sustainable and fair way.

“It includes a proposal to reduce the tax burden on working families and low and middle income households by scrapping the property tax and water charges. It also includes a proposal to commence building over 6,600 new homes over the next 18 months.”

Mr Adams said there were almost 20,000 applications for housing made to Dublin City Council this year, an increase of 3,000 on last year.

“The real number of people in search of housing is much higher but everyone on the Dublin list has already had their need for housing established by the council. More than a third of applicants are living in overcrowded conditions or have particular medical or welfare needs. A total of 1,136 applicants are homeless.”

The Sinn Féin Leader went on:

“In addition to the main waiting list, 5,645 tenants are already living in social housing but are seeking to transfer because a quarter are living in overcrowded conditions. Others need to move out of flats which can’t be adapted for their needs, such as wheelchair access.

“More than 100 people seeking transfers want to move to smaller housing because of changed family circumstances. This pattern is repeated throughout the state, including in County Louth where the waiting list is at 4,800.

“Taoiseach, despite this huge distress that all of this is causing to families and individuals, your Government does not appear to have any plan to deal with it.”

Mr Adams pointed to the fact that the ESRI has called on the Government to make a major investment in social housing in next week’s Budget instead of making the tax cuts which the Taoiseach has been promising.

Mr Adams suggested that the housing crisis is a devastating legacy of government mismanagement during the recession.

He said:

“Approximately 89,000 households are in housing need as well and 76,000 families are in receipt of rent supplement. Failing to house these families costs €30 million euro in emergency accommodation and nearly €500 million euro in subsidised private rent annually.

“The cost of renting has risen by 26% in Dublin since 2011. Across the state rents have also risen year-on-year by between 6-9%. Average rent is now a staggering €915 per-month. The cause is an acute lack of housing. Housing these citizens means building thousands of homes each year.

“Sinn Fein has called for €1 billion from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to be invested in social housing stock. This could fund the commencement of work on between 6,600-6,800 new homes over the course of 18 months. In turn, this would create tens of thousands of jobs for unemployed construction workers.

“Some 6,600 Local Authorities tenants would generate €89 million euro in rent revenue and save €148.5 euro million in rent supplement over five years. More housing will lead to lower demand on the private rental market. It would lower the bill for state subsidy of rents and increase disposal income among rental tenants, as well as lowering rents. It makes sense on every front.”

He urged the Taoiseach to heed the call of the ESRI to move away from tax cuts and to invest in social housing and to take on board Sinn Féin’s proposals to deal with the housing crisis.


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