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Enda Kenny’s legacy is a 300% increase in child homelessness – Ó Broin

13 June, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said the outgoing Taoiseach’s legacy is a crisis in housing that his government over the course of two terms in office has utterly failed to come to grips with. 

Deputy Ó Broin said: 

“As Enda Kenny leaves office today commentators and colleagues will laud his achievements over the past six years, with remarks being made about how history will judge him and his legacy.

“The latest homeless figures indicate that 2,708 children are now living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 300% since Enda Kenny first took office.

“However, for many the Taoiseach’s term in office is epitomised by the deepening housing crisis. Since he took office in 2011 Enda Kenny has failed homeless families, he has failed renters and he has failed middle earners who cannot afford to get a foothold on the property ladder.

“Under Enda Kenny’s tenure we witnessed a slashing of the social housing capital budget. Capital investment in real social housing as low as €295m in 2013, when 293 social housing units were built across the State.

“This figure dived to a new low when in 2015 only 75 council homes were built by local authorities. From 2011 until 2015 the state has delivered, through build, acquisition and Part V a paltry 3,543 real social units.

“It is no coincidence that due to the government’s failure to deliver a sufficient amount of real social homes there has been an exponential rise in the number of families presenting as homeless.

“The figures speak for themselves. In 2011 when Enda Kenny assumed office there were 641 homeless children in April 2017, 2, 708 children slept in Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation.

“The homeless figures have continued to rise steadily month by month and the Taoiseach refused to acknowledge that the state is in the throes of a homeless emergency.

“In 2014 the Eighth Report of the Convention on the Constitution recommended that the right to a home should be enshrined in the State Constitution. This has not been acted upon by this government, because if such a right existed the state would be tasked with respecting this right and its failure to provide adequate housing could be challenged.

“It is not just the most vulnerable in the housing market that the Taoiseach has failed to act in the best interests of. Renters with average incomes are being squeezed out of the rental market in the bigger towns and cities across the State.

“The Taoiseach’s failure to introduce rent certainty measures and to adequately address the situation of tenants in buy-to-let properties has led to over 60 families a month presenting as homeless. The bad policy that is the Help-to-Buy scheme has pushed up house prices making homeownership a dream for the few especially in Dublin.

“The truth is that this Taoiseach failed to act decisively or with any urgency to remedy a dysfunctional housing market and a growing homeless crisis. He had six years as leader of this State to ensure the level of children growing up in emergency accommodation fell not quadrupled. This is his true legacy.” 

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