Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Imelda Munster, has today called on the government to set up an Affordable Housing Scheme as a matter as a priority. The last government announced the scheme in Budget 2016, however it has yet to be set up.
“The state has completely reneged on its duties to provide secure and affordable housing. The homelessness crisis is a national emergency, a fact that the government has not recognised. More families and individuals than ever are homeless.”
“Young people and those on low and middle incomes cannot afford to buy homes. Meanwhile, the private rental sector is seriously under-regulated and only benefiting landlords as tenants are priced out of the market.”
“In my own constituency of Louth and East Meath housing waiting lists have spiralled, with many families waiting up to nine years for a house. There is a chronic shortage of affordable private rental accommodation and the government has yet to open the Affordable Housing Scheme, despite making a commitment to do so two years ago.”
“The government is paying lip service to the housing crisis. They need to fund a proper social housing programme, and to allow those who wish to purchase their own home to do so under an Affordable Housing Scheme rather than relying on the dysfunctional private rental market.”
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD and party colleague Imelda Munster briefed a special meeting of the Louth constituency organisation on Thursday evening in Dundalk.
The previous day he and Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald met the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss “the deepening crisis in the political institutions in the North and the role of the Irish and British governments in helping to achieve a sustainable resolution.”
Speaking after the Dundalk meeting the Louth TD said:
“The Good Friday Agreement and the peace process have helped bring about significant political and economic progress on the island of Ireland. This has brought benefits for all the people of this island but especially the border communities and towns like Dundalk. The removal of the militarised border has helped transform this region.
“No one has worked harder to achieve this than Sinn Féin, and in particular Martin McGuinness. The current crisis surrounding the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI)scheme is a direct result of the DUP’s arrogant handling of this financial scandal and of allegations from within the DUP of corruption, fraud and incompetence involving half a billion pounds. Resolving this crisis will require transparency, accountability and zero tolerance of corruption.
“There are also major issues surrounding the functioning of the institutions, and of the failure to abide by the principles of parity of esteem, equality, and respect which are part of the Good Friday Agreement.
“As co-equal guarantors of the Agreement the Irish and British governments have a responsibility to defend and implement the Good Friday Agreement. The British government will not do this unless the Irish government holds them to account. The British refusal to fulfil its their obligations has to be tackled. The government now needs to engage positively in an ongoing and consistently strategic way with the British government to ensure the full implementation of the Agreement.
“There can be no return to the status quo and no short-term sticking plaster approach. Our party position is clear. Following the resignation of the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness there must be an election. Sinn Féin does not yet see any basis for a credible negotiation this side of that. It is time for the people to have their say.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has met with Vertex, the manufacturer of the cystic fibrosis treatments Orkambi and Kalydeco. He urged Vertex to increase its efforts to find a resolution.
Deputy Adams said:
“I met with Vertex in an effort to assist in making Orkambi and Kalydeco available to those patients whom it could benefit.
“I told the Vertex representative in clear and unequivocal terms about the pain, stress and anguish of CF sufferers and their families.
“In recent weeks, I have met many such sufferers and their families and I have been moved by their personal testimony.
“I believe that these citizens should be able to avail of the most effective treatments which can enhance their quality of life.
“Both Vertex and the HSE must continue to work toward a resolution which will enable access to these cystic fibrosis medications for sufferers of this awful condition.”
Speaking on the back of a visit to last week by Sinn Féin Republican Youth – Louth to the European Parliament a spokesperson for the group stated:
“It was extremely interesting to see the functions of the European institutions and how they interact with each other. We were delighted to get such an experience.”
“Many things stood out to us as being positive but they may have been outweighed by indications the the EU as a whole is facing into a bleak time of turmoil.”
“The current EU climate is an unsettled one. In the wake of Bexit, the institutions in Brussels have had a wakeup call.”
“Couple that with both political unrest and the impending financial meltdown in Italy, the rise of the far right in both France and Austria, and most blatantly, the ever increasing inequality experienced by the majority of the seven-hundred or so million living in the EU.”
“It is quite evident that the EU is heading full speed for an ultimatum. The first option is to radically reform in a way that benefits the majority of its citizens. The second, that it must cease to exist as it has utterly failed.”
“Left-wing politics clearly has a responsibility in this regard. It must unite as one or face a dark period of unrest as splintered factions.”
Submitted by Stephen Todd. To read a fuller account of the visit please go to Stephen’s blog on
http://wp.me/p63CXh-S – well worth a read and don’t forget to follow him for further blog updates on a wide range of issues.
Sinn Féin Louth TD and party leader Gerry Adams today (Tuesday) moved the ‘Right to Home Bill’ in the Dáil. His action follows on from new figures from Louth County Council which revealed that the average waiting time for those on the housing waiting list is 7-8 years.
Teachta Adams told the Dáil: “The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the right of all citizens to adequate, secure and affordable housing, and give effect to the decision by eighty percent of participants of the Constitutional Convention that such a right should be enshrined in the Constitution.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“There are currently 5613 unoccupied houses and flats in county Louth. This is a phenomenal number of potential homes for the 4993 citizens on the existing housing waiting list for the county. Louth has a vacancy rate of 11.10. This is almost five times the international average.
In 2015 there were only 149 social housing allocations by Louth County Council and this depressing situation has not significantly improved. Only 48 social housing allocations were made in the first quarter of this year. Currently the average waiting time for those on the housing waiting list is 7/8 years.
Only 14 new builds are under construction in Louth by Louth County Council and there are only two new builds with planning permission.
Another human consequence of the crisis in housing are the 74 households in Louth registered as homeless and the 68 households living in emergency accommodation. According to the figures from Louth County Council it only succeeded in allocating 17 households in emergency accommodation in the 12-month period from May 2015 to May 2016.
Across the state that are almost a quarter of a million homes lying vacant.
In addition, rents and house prices are spiralling out of control.
It is not acceptable that the government sits back and does nothing to deal with the issue of vacant properties while so many families are in severe housing need. A Constitutional right to a home will oblige the State to make reasonable provision to vindicate such a right through its policies and decisions.
This is not a novel idea. Eighty-one countries across the world already have the right to a home recognised in their Constitutions. The Government could and should provide for the holding of a referendum on the matter without delay.”