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Minister's letter shows worrying disregard for decent housing standards - Ellis

16 June, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis has condemned a letter sent by Minister Alan Kelly to Local Authorities urging them to not to introduce higher standards for housing. He said the letter showed a worrying disregard for the standards of housing being provided for people in need and showed that the government was more interested in being seen to be tackling the housing crisis rather than actually providing quality homes for people who need them.

Deputy Ellis continued:

"We are lucky in Dublin City that we have won hard fought standards for housing which ensure quality for homeowners and tenants. But we also are very aware that these standards are not always met by developers and that this can have devastating consequences in the longer term. Problem developments like Priory Hall, Glenn Riada and the Laurels are fresh in our mind and we must make all efforts possible to see that the housing built in the coming months and years is of a high standard which will be safe and which will last the test of time.

“These are not just any structures. We are talking about where we live, where we raise our children, care for our loved ones and were we go to feel safe and secure. A house built to a poor standard can never be the home we all have a right to.

“This is more cutting corners from the government in the hope to sweeten the deal for developers. Today in the Dáil they will go one more step in this aim by gutting legislation which required developers to provide 20% of developments of five or more houses for social or affordable housing or to make a payment to councils.

“We need more housing and fast but this is not the way to do it - it will only create more problems in the future.  The government, if they were serious, could take a number of major steps to help deliver housing quickly. They could use 1 billion euro identified by Sinn Fein in the Strategic Investment Fund to build roughly 6000 social housing units, more then threes times what they will build in three years and twice what the private market built last year. They could also fast track procurement processes for local authority housing.

“Decent standards are not negotiable. Only more housing will solve the crisis we are in, but only housing which is good quality and will last, providing families with a real home."

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