Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has criticised what he has described as self-serving spin and posturing by the Environment Minister over the last week on the issue of rent certainty. His comments follow suggestions that the Executive Board of the Labour Party met on Saturday 24th October and approved a compromise proposal that will shortly be announced.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Since his appointment, it has been hard to escape the impression that Alan Kelly’s primary interest in his role is how he can use the position to build his personal profile. Time and again, the Minister has mistaken coverage in the media of one of his many press conferences for actual progress on the issues he is responsible for.
“This trend has been most apparent on the issue of housing, where we have had multiple press conferences and launches, including a high profile emergency summit almost exactly 12 months ago. But despite all the publicity, we have had no progress. Indeed, the situation continues to deteriorate.
“Now, following the Government’s failure to address the issue of homelessness in the Budget, we have a sham fight in the media between Alan Kelly and Michael Noonan’s proxies, where the fearless Environment Minister is fighting tooth and nail to force his agenda and secure another historic victory.
“This self-serving spin serves only to infuriate the growing numbers of families facing eviction and those already homeless. Once again, a disproportionate level of energy goes into Minister Kelly’s profile, with no substantial improvement for those in need.
“If, as is suggested by people within the Labour Party, a compromise on rent certainty has already been agreed with Fine Gael and approved by Labour’s Executive Board, this entire process of briefing and counter briefing has only been about PR.
“Using the homelessness emergency as a PR prop to try and scrape out some relevance for the Labour Party is unforgivable. Kelly and Noonan need to put an end to this endless posturing, do their jobs and respond in a meaningful way to an emergency that is causing very serious hardship in our capital and across the country.”