Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/ Galway Eugene Murphy said the Government’s failure to tackle the homelessness crisis has resulted in a suite of empty packages announced one after another without any real progress.
Deputy Murphy made his comments during the Housing motion under Private Members Business in the Dáil this week.
“The Minister said there was more to building these houses than clicking one’s fingers. I suggest he should be clicking his fingers. He should be getting those houses built. There is absolutely nothing happening in that regard.
“Since coming into power, the Government has launched Construction 2020, a Strategy for a Renewed Construction Sector, the Social Housing Strategy 2020, Rebuilding Ireland 2016 and the 2012, 2015 and 2018 plans. Apart from that, there were six separate plans excluding the other numerous relaunches. That was what the Strategic Communications Unit, SCU, was up to. It was trying to give the people the impression that the Minister was doing something about this issue and it worked with some,” said Deputy Murphy.
“Homelessness has reached unprecedented levels, surging rents are at historic heights, home building numbers are tens of thousands behind where they need to be and some 120,000 people are on the social housing waiting list. All the while another massive problem is emerging that the government is completely ignoring, ordinary workers cannot afford a place to own.
“People are in crisis, not only in the city but throughout this country. I gave the Minister an example from my constituency of a widow who gets up early in the morning and works five days a week. She has a son in college and a girl in secondary school. She has an income of €26,000. She cannot qualify for council housing or a loan. She is being hopped around renting accommodation and when the landlord feels like it, she is pushed out of it. What is happening to people up and down this country is disgraceful. It is a shame, yet nothing constructive is being done about it.
“The Minister brought forward a package of measures last January to address the question of affordability. However, the package is entirely empty. Three schemes were announced but it is a case of reheating old promises and delivering nothing new. We had the Rebuilding Ireland home loan, the affordable purchase scheme and the affordable rent scheme; I could go on and on…The Minister, and the Taoiseach, have failed on this issue of homelessness and the provision of housing.
“Supply and affordability is the key issue that needs to be addressed in order to get to grips with the crisis in the private, social and rental sector,” concluded Deputy Murphy.