Fianna Fáil Whip, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, says Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s new Housing Bill completely ignores the chronic lack of social housing provision in Ireland.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl said that simply getting rid of 77,000 people from the social housing list will not address the crisis.
“Under the new Housing Bill guidelines, people on rent allowance will move to the local authority where they will be in receipt of a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). This effectively means that 77,000 will be disappeared off the social housing list.
“This move just transfers the problem from Minster O’Sullivan’s department to local authorities. We need to see the Minister follow up this move by committing capital funding for a new social housing construction programme. Local authorities have been hit with considerable reductions in their state subsidies and they cannot possibly afford to deal with a crisis that national government has failed to address is any meaningful way.
“It is appalling that those who will be in receipt of the HAP will be excluded from the housing waiting lists. These two things are not mutually exclusive, many people in receipt of rent allowance still seek social housing. It is completely wrong to state that once a person receives the HAP then their housing need is satisfied.
“I sincerely hope that the Minister is not trying to simply massage the figures without tackling the core issue. This is a crisis that is getting worse by the week, we have all heard of the harrowing stories of families forced to live in cars because they have nowhere to go and can’t afford to privately rent.
“Fianna Fáil is calling for the immediate provision of social housing building programme and the transfer of suitable NAMA properties to local authorities for social housing purposes. These measures will be a small start to dealing with the crisis.