Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has described the government’s new “Urban Regeneration Bill” as shocking and as having a Thatcherite approach which will bring an end to direct council social housing provision.
Cllr Munster said “It is in effect a wholesale privatisation of social housing. At a recent meeting members of the CPG (Corporate Policy Group) in Louth were told local authorities will not be given any more funding to build social housing. Instead, housing delivery and sourcing will be through private developers through leasing and voluntary housing bodies from 2017 onwards.”
Cllr Munster continued “this new bill clearly shows that the government parties are backing the ‘boom and bust’ policies that led to the crisis by enticing private developers by giving them concessions and allowing them to forgo obligations under Part 5. This bill has halved to 10% the amount of land zoned for residential use that must be set aside for social and affordable housing.”
“It also states that affordable housing schemes shall not be agreed to by planning authorities and also allows developers to opt out of their obligation to transfer 10% (reduced from 20% in the bill)of any development to the ownership of local authorities. They would instead lease the proportion of any development to councils. This will result in an end to direct council house provision and cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of Euro every year in paying developers and private landlords taxpayers money to lease houses. Outsourcing to private developers and landlords will mean families will never get a home they can call their own and they will be easy prey to unscrupulous landlords and further compound the housing crisis we are currently in and the huge distress it is causing thousands of families in Louth alone.”
Cllr Munster said “if this is the government’s response to the housing crisis then it will serve to increase homelessness and only benefit developers and landlords who are set to make millions on the backs of the taxpayer and every individual forced into private rented accommodation.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Imelda Munster has welcomed the unanimous support her motion received at Louth County Council calling on the government and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to ‘ensure that funding is provided to continue and expand the Walk Peer Programme in Louth and to request that funding be attached to the upcoming Comprehensive Employment Strategy so that the programme is sustainable long term’.
Commenting after the council meeting, Cllr Munster said “this programme is vital for young persons with disabilities between the ages of 16 to 24 and has engaged 119 young people who want to participate as equal citizens and contribute positively to Irish society. The programme is due to close on July 31st as to date no long term funding has been secured. Walk peer has, in its short term in operation, had 60% progression to mainstream training, education and employment and offers support and encouragement for young adults with disabilities to reach their full potential and no one else is delivering this type of individualised, employment programme in Louth. This pilot programme has been hugely successful and there is an onus on the government to facilitate successful projects such as Walk Peer and allocate sustainable funding to enable them to continue to achieve long term outcomes for young people with disabilities in Louth.”
Rita O’Hare, Mary Hogan (National President LAOH and event organiser) and Edel Corrigan
Monday June 29th marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Irish Republican Brotherhood member Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa. His life as an Irish Fenian is well documented but he is perhaps best known for the graveside oration he received from Pádraig Pearse when the famous lines were uttered “The fools, the fools, the fools…”
After being exiled to America in 1870, the O’Donovan Rossa family resided in Staten Island, New York until Jeremiah died in 1915 and his body was returned to Ireland and buried in Glasnevin.
Louth County Councillor Edel Corrigan attended a day long series of events on his anniversary in Staten Island NY which was organised by LAOH National President Mary Hogan and committee members.
Guest speakers at the event included Rita O’Hare (Sinn Féin Representative in USA), William Rossa Cole (great grandson of O’Donovan Rossa), Judith Campbell, (historian, Drew University),Dolores Lynch (LAOH), and Barbara Jones (Counsul General NY).
Cllr Corrigan said “It was an honour for me to be invited to attend the events to mark the passing of such a great Irish historical legend as Jeremiah ODonovan Rossa. Jeremiah and his wife Mary-Jane played a great role in building the foundations on which the Rising of 1916 in Ireland happened and which we celebrate next year. “I look forward to August 1st when there will be a re-enactment in Dublin of O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral procession and graveside orations. There is a great feeling of excitement from the O’Donovan Rossa family members I have met, to see their ancestors remembered for their contribution to the Irish people. “This event also marked the great contribution and sacrifices Mary-Jane O’Donovan Rossa made during this period of history. Moving into 2016 it is important that we remember those who went before us, the roles they had, and the impact they made on Irish history.”
Rita O’Hare at the O’Donovan Rossa family plot