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Minister Ahern in denial of housing crisis - Crowe

22 June, 2006

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has accused the Minister of State with responsibility for Housing Noel Ahern of being in denial of the housing crisis. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Crowe said the Government's housing policies are "failing families, young couples, parents and the significant homeless population on a daily basis."

He said, "A series of Government commissioned reports carried out by economic consultant Dr Peter Bacon proposed measures to curb the steep average house prices. However these proposals fell on deaf Government ears. Investors currently get mortgage relief on second houses, at a cost of €60 million per year. This was taken away in 2001 and the housing situation actually improved. While the Bacon report recommended that this tax relief be removed for good, it was re-imposed by Charlie McCreevy the following year!

Minister Ahern is in denial about the housing crisis. He talks about building societies pushing up prices but the reality is that his government's housing policies have failed, and are currently failing families, young couples, parents and the significant homeless population on a daily basis. I speak of those 44,000 families on the housing waiting list; those stuck with 40 year mortgages; those people who cannot even afford mortgages and are being ripped off by unscrupulous landlords, and indeed those homeless who have to brave sleeping rough on our streets every night. In fact I wonder how many TDs from the Government parties are of this landlord class.

"Having a roof over your head should be a constitutional right, and Sinn Féin have pushed for this, but Fianna Fáil seem to think that having a house is in some way a privilege. In 2002 Fianna Fáil promised to set deadlines for removing everyone off the housing waiting list, they have never fulfilled this promise.

"We are seeing a replication of ghettos being created, especially in cramped Dublin apartment blocks, kids need back gardens. We are witnessing the creation of transient communities, where young people are being priced out of purchasing homes in their own areas and communities in which they grew up. Many young people from my own constituency in Tallaght are being forced to move further and further out into the country. The housing situation is intolerable and I demand this government to address it." ENDS

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