Wednesday, 6 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Martin Conway (Fine Gael)
I would like the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, to come in here and explain what is going on between the National Transport Authority, NTA, and Clare Bus with the delay in funding. It is totally unacceptable that vulnerable people in County Clare, who require the services of Clare Bus, would be hearing stories or speculation that there are issues. Whatever the issues are, I would like to hear about them. The Minister is probably due in here anyway to give us an update on rural transport so I offer encouragement for that to happen as soon possible.
I also listened to "Morning Ireland" this morning with surprise to hear John Moran talking about the lack of local authorities drawing down Government funding available to build houses. He bemoaned the lack of ambition of local authorities when it comes to building housing. I tend to agree with him. The Minister can only do so much. The money is available so what is going on that the local authorities are not escalating the issue of building houses? Something is wrong and there is a blockage somewhere. I would like some clarity on that. Perhaps the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy English, or the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, could come in at some stage for statements on housing in order that we might hear what their perspectives on that blockage are.
I was quite surprised that the Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality confirmed this morning that the Department has signed contracts with the provider of the emergency accommodation on Achill Island, which will have to be paid for. We have a situation now where there are bedrooms on Achill Island, contracted by the State, with nobody in them. It is not acceptable. This needs to be resolved. If 13 vulnerable women cannot go there for whatever reason, and I accept the reasons in good faith, are there any men or other people who can go down and take up this accommodation? We have an accommodation crisis when it comes to people seeking international protection in this country and it needs to be dealt with head-on.