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Housing gimmick slap in face for 48,000 on waiting lists - Morgan

23 June, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D., speaking in the Dáil this morning, has challenged Minister Dick Roche to provide a cost benefit analysis of the Government proposal, announced today, to hand state land over to private developers in exchange for affordable housing at less salubrious locations.

Speaking in the Dáil Deputy Morgan called on Minister Roche to: "Explain to this House what possible merits there is to handing over state land to developers for so-called affordable housing when there are 48,000 families on social housing waiting lists in the state. The Minister has an obligation to brief opposition housing spokesperson on these plans, debate the issue in the house and provide a cost benefit analysis of these proposals before proceeding. He needs to tell us if he has sought proposals from voluntary housing associations to determine whether such bodies would be able to deliver social housing on this state land in manner which would provide better value for the State and maintain living communities in our cities."

After having raised this matter in the House Deputy Morgan said: "This gimmick will not resolve the housing crisis. The NESC report published last December called for 73,000 additional units of social housing units between 2005 and 2012 and housing waiting list remain out of control. The Government should be constructing social housing on this state land not handing it over to developers.

"The housing provided by developers will be affordable in name only and will more than likely be located in the commuter belt or on the outskirts of cities such as Dublin. What has happened to supposed government commitments regarding the creation of integrated communities and a living city? It basically amounts to pushing low-income people out of certain parts of Dublin in particular.

"This Government's answer to everything is to privatise and asset strip. Sinn Féin will not stand idly by while Fianna Fail and PDs once again embark on plans to enrich their developer friends by handing over prime real estate in exchange for housing which could only be considered affordable by the wildest stretch of the imagination. This is not a sustainable solution to the housing problems facing this state -- it is merely an attempt by the Government to cover up for the fact that they have failed miserably to deliver the 10,000 houses they committed to under Sustaining Progress. These proposals will not provide value for money for the state. This is why the government is unlikely to provide a cost benefit analysis of these proposals which Sinn Féin demands." ENDS

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