Seanad debates

Friday, 4 June 2021

9:30 am

Photo of Mary FitzpatrickMary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail)

I thank the Minister of State for his attendance and his very positive response to this debate. I thank my party for supporting this motion and its very kind words. I do not think I worked that hard at all but I will take the compliments. It is a real honour for all of us to serve in this House and it is a real honour for me to serve and to be part of the Fianna Fáil Party group within the Seanad. The reason I believe my colleagues were so committed to supporting this motion and this debate is not because they think this alone will solve the problem. They are not so deluded as to think the housing problem will be fixed with a motion like this. It is because it speaks to our core values as a republican party that believes in equality, including equality of opportunity. We understand the intrinsic and essential value of having a safe and secure place to call home from which to go to school, college, training or work, from which to progress in the world, and from which to reach your full potential as a human being and make your contribution to society. It is primarily for that reason that my colleagues support this motion. We believe there needs to be a public debate on this issue.We value our Constitution and would like to see a right to adequate housing enshrined in it.

I thank all of the Members for their contributions. I accept there is majority support for this motion. It is also very important to hear voices like those of Senator Craughwell, who is a reasonable man and has good intentions. He has serious and genuine concerns about this proposal and that is the challenge we face with this debate. We need to engage everybody in this debate from all sides.

I do not share the same respect or admiration for the cynical, divisive and destructive politics that was exposed and practised by Sinn Féin today. It is purely cynical to use this as a politicking and campaigning tool. Sinn Féin laments the housing crisis and decries people's inability to get a secure and affordable home, and yet, at every turn, it obstructs, delays and prevaricates. It is not serious about trying to address the housing crisis. It is only serious about using the housing crisis as a political tool to drive disadvantage and division. Its by-election candidate has not been seen for the 16 hours of Committee Stage debate on the Affordable Housing Bill. She was out the door and could not be seen for dust once she had her social media clip. We had hours of debate-----

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