Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Social Housing: Motion [Private Members]
The Minister, Deputy O'Sullivan, was Minister of State with responsibility for housing and planning for four of those years. It is a shameful legacy. It is in contrast with the attempt to claim all credit for implementing the recovery initiated by the late Brian Lenihan. This Government - Fine Gael lite - has created a situation in which rental prices have now risen beyond the reach of many working families. It has failed, despite being consistently offered opportunities by this party, to remove the veto on the bank resolution and mortgage arrears. In my home town of Tuam there are dozens of local authority houses lying vacant because of the want of funding from the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly's Department. There are hundreds of houses across the west looking for new tenants who are crying out for a home. The Minister has managed to cap the spending on the refurbishment of such homes at €30,000, which has resulted in Galway County Council being left with no option but to board up those houses and leave them vacant. Neighbourhoods in Tuam, Gort, Athenry and Loughrea have been dotted with many of these houses; they have been broken into, looted and have become a source of anti-social behaviour. These have become unpleasant communities to live in because of this Government's failure to address adequately the under-funding from local authorities to renew those houses. Having such homes vacant also means there are no longer houses for people who have been waiting for years and the social housing waiting lists continue to grow. In my home town there is a family with three children who are now in their fourth month living in a hotel.