22 February 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Independent TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins has told the Dáil that he is seeing an alarming rise in the number of people attending his constituency clinics who are being left with no option but to sleep in their vans and cars because of the lack of available housing.
Deputy Collins was speaking during a debate on evictions and housing which heard calls for an extension to the current ban on evictions to the end of the year:
“Under this and the previous Government’s watch, the housing crisis has moved significantly beyond policy failure into the realm of a major social catastrophe,” said Deputy Collins.
“It is neither an exaggeration nor political point-scoring to say that this crisis is actively destroying the lives of thousands of people across the country who are trapped in either precarious tenancies or resigned to a hopelessness around ever owning their own home.”
“I see the human cost of this every single week in my constituency clinics, where, in the last three or four months I have witnessed an alarming surge in the number of people coming to me for help who are couch-surfing or sleeping in their vans and cars.”
“I also have people raising difficulties trying to access the Government’s highly publicised €500 renter’s credit. I know of a young lady in west Cork who tried to get this credit only to be told she cannot, as she is renting from her parents. Yet she has to work hard for rent just like everyone else. It’s as if the scheme is deliberately designed to be discriminatory.”
“Our young people are being failed. Our families are living under the threat of having notices to quit served on them. Our elderly are terrified at the prospect of losing the only place they have called home. And all the while we have a government minister who can stand up in the Dáil, without an ounce of shame, and proclaim the strategies he is pursuing a success.”
“The current housing strategy is not working, and it is not delivering. Tragically, the only people who fail to see this are the very people who are most assured that the strategy is a success,” Deputy Collins concluded.