Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen TD has accused the Government of indecision and inaction as the housing crisis escalates across Ireland.

Deputy Cowen made the comments following a Dáil debate on the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015 where he called on the Government to hold a special debate on the housing crisis.

Deputy Cowen commented, “Government Ministers have acknowledged the growing housing crisis in recent months and have been busy agreeing how terrible it is, but following a pattern that is becoming more and more familiar across Government, they are failing utterly to contain the problem and much less to actually resolve it.

“Fianna Fáil has been consistent in advocating for provision of adequate housing in recent years. But the only response from Government has been ever more grandiose announcements and PR initiatives.  Meanwhile, up to 100,000 people are now on housing waiting lists across the county, and that number continues to grow at an alarming rate.

“The rental sector in urban areas, and in particular in Dublin, has been in crisis for some time now. This has given rise to the shameful situation whereby more than 1,000 children are living in emergency accommodation in Dublin and beyond.  There is also a growing cohort of families who cannot qualify for rent allowance, housing assistance payments or rental assistance schemes. At the same time they do not qualify for a mortgage and are not eligible for social housing.

“Instead of reducing the social housing obligation on housing developers from 20% to 10%, the Government should be rolling out a radical and targeted home building programme to provide suitable accommodation for families.

“The Fianna Fáil Housing Strategy sets out a realistic national roadmap to address the housing crisis. Our proposals include the creation of a home investment bank to finance housing construction in suitable locations of high demand. The Government should put party politics to one side and take on board the Fianna Fáil plan to ensure the housing crisis is addressed without any further delay.

“It says much about the Government’s priorities when you consider we have not even had a debate in the Dáil on the ongoing housing crisis. I am calling on the Government to hold such a debate so that we can examine its response to the housing crisis and outline what actions need to be taken to resolve it” said Deputy Cowen.