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  • Northside East

War of words over housing

Thursday, 1st February, 2018 1:00pm

Story by Pat O'Rourke
War of words over housing
War of words over housing

TWO NORTHSIDE TDs have become embroiled in a war of words over the housing list figures. 

Dublin Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien (FF) said despite all the Government’s “recent showboating”, the number of people on Fingal County Council’s social housing list has increased by 6 per cent in just 12 months.

However, Alan Farrell, a Fine Gael TD in the same constituency, said Deputy O’Brien’s claim that the current Government is showboating is nothing more than a “cynical and disingenuous approach” to politics by Fianna Fáil. Deputy O’Brien said the latest social housing waiting list figures indicate that the number of people currently in need of a home in the Fingal area increased from 6,858 in 2016 to 7,271 last year.

“It has been over two years since the Government launched its policy, ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, to much fanfare and which committed to deliver 30,000 new build homes.

“Despite the fact that these record figures do not even account for the households who have transferred to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, they still expose Fine Gael’s deep seated ideological opposition to the delivery of public housing.

“Since 2011, just 6,000 new social houses have been built across the entire country and so it is of little surprise that the number of people waiting over seven years for social housing has risen by over 7 per cent.

“It is absolutely apparent that the Minister (Eoghan Murphy) and his Department must urgently re-assess its policy in order to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.  

“Measures such as the establishment of a new Housing Delivery Agency, the allocation of additional capital funding and an expansion of the current 20 per cent Part V have the potential to increase the provision of social housing to 10,000 per year.

Deputy O’Brien added: “One thing is clear: house prices in Fingal are rising rapidly beyond affordability and the demand for social housing is increasing as a consequence. This aspect of the housing crisis needs to be acknowledged by those in Government.”

Deputy Farrell said he noted Deputy O’Brien’s remarks on housing with interest. 

“In fact, had Deputy O’Brien paid attention to the work of Fingal County Council under the Rebuilding Ireland programme launched by Fine Gael in Government, he would be aware that our local authority has actually surpassed its target of bringing 1,376 social housing units on-stream over the last three years by 63 per cent, and actually delivering 2,241 social housing units in that timeframe,” he said. 

“It is somewhat ironic that Deputy O’Brien would claim that Fine Gael have an ideological opposition to the delivery of social housing. 

“This statement could not be further from the truth, and is reflective of political opportunism focused on getting headlines rather than delivering for the public.”

Deputy Farrell claimed that during its time in Government, Fianna Fáil washed its hands of the State’s responsibility to actively work on the provision of social housing. 

“Fianna Fáil instead farmed the need to provide social housing out to private developers, and ensured that they had no active involvement in providing social housing for communities in Fingal, or indeed, the entire country,” he claimed.

“The Government is taking action to address homelessness, our social housing lists, the rental market and to assist first-time buyers.”

Deputy Farrell added: “On an issue as important as tackling homelessness and the provision of social housing, cynically attacking for political gain is not only doing a disservice to my constituents, but to all of those across the country who need help to find housing which meets their needs.” 

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