Fianna Fáil has raised concerns that the latest housing plan announced by the Government is just a rehash of plans launched in November, which have still not resulted in one single new home.
The party’s Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has warned Minister Alan Kelly against yet another PR stunt that makes absolutely no difference to the 90,000 families in need of a home.
“The 90,000 families on social housing waiting lists across the country have heard all these promises before from Minister Kelly. But despite launches, re-launches and a litany of promises from the Minister, not one new home has yet been built. Not a single dent has been made in the housing crisis that has been left to escalate completely and utterly out of control,” said Deputy Cowen.
“The Government has been systematically cutting the money available for social housing over the last 4 years. Now with just months to go to an election, Fine Gael and Labour are suddenly waking up to the crisis that they have created. Grant money provided to councils for social housing units was slashed from almost €115 million in 2012 to just over €80 million last year. Mayo County Council did not buy a single social housing unit in 2012 and 2013. No money was spent on new builds in Waterford city or county in 2013 or in Co Longford or Co Tipperary last year as cuts came into effect.
“The reality is that this Government has reneged on every single promise it has made to families who desperately need a home. Just two months ago, Minister Kelly told me in reply to a Parliamentary Question that he would build 1,400 social housing units by the end of this year. Now it seems this figure has been drastically downscaled, with it taking until the end of 2017 to build 1,700 homes. None of the houses promised by Minister Kelly will be built before the next election, so once again home seekers are expected to just take the Minister on his word.
“Even if the Government finally follows through, what was announced today is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s needed. Fianna Fáil has published much more extensive plans to build 45,000 social housing units by 2021 and 100,000 new private homes as part of plans to radically increase the housing supply.”