Thursday, 28 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The reality is that new rents in Dublin city cost more than €2,000. In the Tánaiste's own home city of Cork, they are €1,300. He may think those levels of rent are acceptable but they are not acceptable to ordinary people. The reality is that, since this Government took office, homelessness has increased by more than 67% and child homelessness has increased by 81%. More than 4,000 children will go to sleep tonight in emergency accommodation, without mentioning the thousands of people who are back living with their families because they cannot afford to rent. The worst of all is the damage we, as a society, are doing to these children. People on the front line have told us about children who cannot crawl and toddlers who cannot walk. I am a father, as is the Tánaiste. One of the best experiences one can ever have is to see one's child taking his or her first steps. The Government is denying children the development milestones they should normally be able to achieve because they are in cramped accommodation in hotel rooms, bed and breakfast accommodation, or hubs. Some of them have spent four years in such accommodation. The Tánaiste can tell those children and their parents that his plan is working; it is not. He can tell the renters who are paying €2,000 a month that his plan is working; it is not. He needs to get his head out of the sand, invest appropriately, and introduce a rent freeze so that the craziness of landlords increasing rents and putting families into homelessness can be stopped.