Thursday, 12 May 2022
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
I thank the Deputy. I appreciate the fact that he gave us some notice that this question would be raised because it allowed me to get some further information. Generally speaking, what the Government does is to provide funding to local authorities, charities or housing bodies either to build or purchase a house, and adapt it for people with disabilities. It makes much more sense, on many levels, that we would purchase a house and adapt it for people with disabilities or alternatively build a house from scratch, which has to be done sometimes, for people with disabilities.
On occasion, and I do not know how often it happens, a house is rented instead. The rental house is then adapted to make it appropriate for people with disabilities to live in. That is done on the understanding that the house will be leased for a prolonged period of 20, 30 or 40 years. The example that the Deputy gave is, quite frankly, something that should not happen. It sounds like a poor use of taxpayers' money that a house would be rented, adapted at considerable expense to the taxpayer and then taken back by the landlord. If the Deputy will give my office more details of that case, we will look into it because it is definitely not a good use of taxpayers' money and is far from ideal. I do not know how common that is but it is something we should and will look into.
The whole issue of housing for disabled people is now dealt with under a joint strategy of the Departments of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Health. The joint strategy was published in January and as part of that, €96 million is provided every year under the capital assistance scheme for housing. That can be accessed by approved housing bodies for housing for people with disabilities.