War of words between Cork Sinn Féin and Cork Fine Gael over social housing crisis

30 November 2015
By Bryan Smyth

SF Cllr Donncha O Laoghaire

Sinn Féin General Election Candidate Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has criticised Jerry Buttimer’s attitude to the social housing crisis.

He accused the Fine Gael TD of attempting a “three card trick” in his efforts to deflect responsibility for the housing crisis away from the government.

The Sinn Féin General Election candidate was responding to remarks made by Deputy Buttimer in the Evening Echo, where he criticised City Councillors for turning the housing crisis into a political spat.

Councillor Ó Laoghaire said;

“Deputy Buttimer is being disingenuous when he criticises others for beginning a party political spat. Particularly when he has invested money into beginning this debate, by actively promoting a social media video discussing Housing Funding for Cork City Council.”

“The social housing crisis is an issue of great seriousness, affecting tens of thousands of people. There are over 130,000 households on waiting lists throughout the state, 15,000 here in Cork alone. Over 1,500 children are in emergency accommodation. Homelessness in Cork City is consistently on the rise, with a 63% increase in the numbers sleeping rough on our streets in 2014.

“It is entirely legitimate to criticise the Government for its failures in dealing with the Housing Crisis.”

“It is nonsensical to suggest that the policies of political parties shouldn’t be brought to bear on the housing debate. In my view, that crisis is undoubtedly the product of bad policies implemented by parties such as Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil.

“Local authorities are not without their failings. However, it is obvious to anyone, who wishes to examine the issue, that the main reason that Social Housing has not been built and is not being built, is due to a lack of funding from National Government. That is s as clear as day.”

“Deputy Jerry Buttimer’s attempts to pass the blame on to Local Authorities is absurd. It is part of a Government strategy to distance itself from a crisis for which they are responsible.

“Deputy Buttimer is attempting a three card trick when he criticises local councils for failing to spend funding. He knows very well that the window of time, in which to spend that funding, is extremely narrow and that his party has been responsible for stripping local authorities of the staff and vital resources necessary to put that money to work.

“He is sadly mistaken if he thinks that this is a winning strategy to get reelected.

“I very much doubt the people of Cork South Central will allow this Government to wash their hands of the Housing Crisis.”

File photo of FG TD Jerry Buttimer
File photo of FG TD Jerry Buttimer

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