8 September 2017
By Tom Collins
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin (Cork South Central) has branded the Government’s “ongoing failure to make any progress” on tackling the housing crisis as “a national scandal”. His comments follow the recent deaths of four homeless people and confirmation that 2,973 of the country’s children are now homeless.
Deputy Martin commented, “Since 2014, it has been clear that the country is experiencing an unprecedented housing emergency. Surging homelessness, a collapse in social housing construction, a virtual absence of affordable homes and unsustainable hikes in rental costs have been met with spin, bluster and a total failure of policy innovation by a string of Fine Gael and Labour ministers.
“Enormous effort has been invested in various PR initiatives and ‘action plans’, while citizens listen to ministers explain how complicated the problem is. There is no doubt that this is a complex issue, but at its core the solution is very simple. We need to build significantly more houses and apartments, and quickly.
“Local authorities need to be instructed, funded and empowered to build social housing. They also need to play a role, along with initiatives at a national level, in the provision of affordable homes and rental schemes. My party has brought forward a suite of policy initiatives that we believe would allow immediate progress on both these fronts.
“Unfortunately, the Government remains more focussed on practicing politics than delivering outcomes for people. This isn’t good enough. The fact that almost 3,000 of our children are homeless and people are dying on our streets is a national scandal.
“It requires urgency and energy, and we have seen neither. The time for talk has long since passed. It is time for action.”