Tuesday, 14 May 2019
An Bille um an gCúigiú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (An Ceart chun Teaghaise) 2016: An Dara Céim [Comhaltaí Príobháideacha] - Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill 2016: Second Stage [Private Members]
Damien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
I welcome the opportunity to say where the Government stands on this Bill. We have had similar discussions in the past year on the right to a home and I am conscious that this marks the build-up to the protests organised for Saturday. I listen to speeches night after night and, while I have no doubt that in earlier speeches some solutions were set out, what I heard did not give me greater solutions to how we can deliver houses on sites. We can make all the changes we want here, but it does not necessarily give us houses. The constant mantra that there is no social housing building programme is dishonest. It is not true and wrong to keep repeating it. I have no problem with Members saying it is not enough and showing how things can be done on a site by site basis, but it is dishonest to keep saying there is no social housing building programme. Leading people out to protest on Saturday under the impression that there is no social housing building programme is wrong. The protesters have many demands, one of which is that the Government start a social housing building programme, but we started it over three years ago. I agree with Deputy Catherine Connolly that it was stopped, but it is not right to say it has not been restarted. Members should stop peddling that lie because it does not make sense. A budget was passed only a couple of months ago in which €2.4 billion was allocated to build houses and fund a social housing building programme. It is ridiculous that Deputies say the same thing in debate after debate. I could take them to 294 sites on which we are building houses. A total of 5,000 social houses are under construction.