Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 May 2024

Future Ireland Fund and Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund Bill 2024: Report and Final Stages


4:30 pm

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

The Minister mentioned "evidence-based". Obviously, the Minister is quite an intelligent man and being Minister for Finance, is good with figures. He quoted that Cork City Council delivered 800 additional houses. That is a misprint, that was 800 families. Some 1,000 to 1,200 came on to the housing waiting list the same year. I am not a genius or an expert in maths but if 800 houses are delivered and 1,000 or more come on to the list, that means that 200 people, or families in most of these cases, are actually worse off than they were at the start of the year. These are the facts because I know the facts. I follow them. I deal with people in my clinic every week. The problem is that Cork City Council virtually always hits its targets. The Government's targets are too low. The Minister, Deputy Darragh O'Brien's targets are too low. How will the Government solve a crisis if it cannot deliver enough houses to match the people who are coming on the waiting list?

The Minister also references that figures are coming down. Does he know why the housing figures are coming down? It is because the Government considers HAP and RAS to be social housing. I will tell the Minister now, if you are in a HAP tenancy with no guarantee or security of tenure, you could be put out of your home with a couple of months' notice. That is not social housing.

I came from Knocknaheeny. All of my family came from social housing and thank God I was able to buy my own house. Having social housing is a safety net; HAP is not. The Government made that decision.

I ask the Minister to respond on infrastructure. When will we have funding for the northern ring road and light rail in Cork? When will we have funding for regeneration projects in Mayfield and Blackpool? Houses were built in Carrignavar village ten or 15 years ago that cannot be connected to Uisce Éireann because there is no capacity for wastewater. That is just one example of something that is happening across the State. Towns and villages cannot build houses because the Government did not invest in them.


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