Louth Sinn Féin supports Raise the Roof Protest

Louth TD Gerry Adams was joined by Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú and Cllr Anne Campbell on Wednesday outside the gates of Leinster House for the Raise the Roof rally to protest at government failure to delivery social and affordable housing.

In his remarks in the Dáil the former Sinn Féin leader criticised earlier comments from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar describing them as “dishonest”.

Speaking in the Dáil on the all-party motion Gerry Adams said:

“I want to commend all of those who took part in the Raise the Roof protest. It was a great demonstration. Those who assembled outside Leinster House were showing their anger at the government’s shameful attitude to almost 4,000 children in emergency accommodation. They were expressing their outrage against rents that people can’t afford. They were protesting against evictions and they were protesting against this government’s failed housing policy”.

Teachta Adams said:

“According to Daft.ie Louth has witnessed the greatest annual increase in rental costs. The July figures from the Department of Housing revealed that the number of adults homeless in the North-East region, including Louth, has remained unchanged since July of last year. Clearly the government’s housing strategy is not working.

This year, fewer social homes owned by local authorities and approved housing bodies will be delivered by the Government than last year.

The Minister for Housing and his colleagues constantly parrot the claim that their plan is the only plan – that there is no alternative. Yes. There is.

Sinn Féin’s housing plan in our Alternative Budget 2019 proposes the introduction of a temporary tax relief for renters in tandem with a three-year emergency rent freeze.

Sinn Féin would also increase investment in social and affordable housing and tackling homelessness.

This is one of the many difference between Sinn Féin and this government. We believe that citizens have the right to a home. This government doesn’t believe this”.

Finally, Gerry Adams criticised an earlier attack on Sinn Féin by the Taoiseach. Teachta Adams said:

“The Taoiseach responded to a reasonable question from Teachta MacDonald on the government’s failed housing policy by attacking Sinn Féin’s refusal to stay in government in the North with a party which is denying citizens their rights.

The Taoiseach has a duty to uphold the rights of people in the North not to attack them. He also knows the efforts Sinn Féin have made and the reprehensible way the British government and the DUP have responded by refusing rights which he knows are being denied at this time.

He knows the disrespectful way they treat him and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. This has nothing to do with the housing crisis, with the housing emergency in this state, but it is proof how this government responds in a dishonest way and this brings the Taoiseach’s office into disrepute and adds to the sense – and we saw this in the streets earlier on – that this government doesn’t really care about the homelessness crisis.

He also knows the disrespectful way they have treated the Irish government. So for him to respond in this dishonest way brings the office of Taoiseach into disrepute and adds to the sense that this government does not really care about the homeless crisis”.

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú said: “There are thousands of households on the housing waiting list in Louth. Without the construction of significant numbers of quality, and affordable public housing many will languish on that list for years. We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing emergency. It is a crisis that has this Government has refused to confront.

The current housing crisis is entirely government made. Since the government published its ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ strategy homelessness has increased by 60%, child homelessness has increased by 77% and pensioner homelessness has increased by an unimaginable 80%. All of this has occurred despite the Ministers efforts to fiddle the homeless statistics, including an instruction to Louth County Council in May to exclude 100 homeless households”.

Adams urges Louth support for Raise the Roof

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has urged people from Louth to support the ‘Raise the Roof’ demonstration which will take place at Leinster House on 3rd October at 12.30pm.

Gerry Adams said;

“The Raise the Roof rally unites political parties, trade unions, student’s unions, housing agencies, community and campaign groups who share the same aim of demanding action from the Government on the housing crisis.

“In the past week we saw how Fianna Fáil TDs, including Declan Breathnach, sided with the Government and private developers against those in housing need.

“They failed to support the Sinn Féin motion of no confidence in Minister Eoghan Murphy, a Minister who has presided over unprecedented levels of homelessness and who consistently refuses to regulate the rental market.

“Sinn Féin will publish its alternative Budget on Tuesday 2nd October.  In it we have budgeted for a 3 year rent freeze and tax relief for of 8.3% per annum for renters for 3 years.  This amounts to one month’s rent back per year.

“In Louth the average rent price was €905 in 2017.  This year it has risen to €983 per month.  People in Louth are on a treadmill of working simply to fill the coffers of their landlord.

“Our proposals are fully costed.  Sinn Féin has the political will to deliver for people who are struggling, people currently locked out of the housing market.

“I will be joined at Raise the Roof by Dundalk councillors Ruairí Ó Murchú and Anne Campbell.”

Homeless crisis in Louth deepens – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the homelessness figures for June as “deeply disturbing and evidence of a government and of a Housing Minister failing to properly address the crisis in housing and homelessness.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Minister Eoghan Murphy has now been in office for a full year. Despite claims of progress the housing figures for last month are evidence of a Minister failing to do his job.
 
Last June there were 115 homeless adults in the North East region of whom 110 were in Louth. There were 14 families and 40 children.

12 months later the number of homeless in the North East region has jumped to 129, of whom 125 are in Louth. There are now 24 families and 54 children.

This is a significant increase which would have been greater but for the Minister’s instruction to Councils to exclude some categories of homeless on spurious grounds.

Across the state there are now 9,872 homeless persons – an increase of almost two thousand on this time last year.

June has seen increases in the numbers of families and children accessing emergency accommodation in Louth and in the state.

The reality is that without the right kind of action this crisis is not going to end. The government, for example, should move to amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prevent buy-to-let landlords who benefit from tax breaks from issuing vacant possession notices to quit when selling a property.” 
 

Cllr Joanna Byrne seeks clarity on Local Authority’s reporting of Homelessness

Once again Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne has called on Louth County Council to clarify the county’s status in regards to homelessness.

The Local Authority’s latest Housing Progress report saw a significant decrease in numbers presenting as homeless across the board in Drogheda, Dundalk and Mid-Louth forcing Cllr Joanna Byrne to seek clarification if this was “a true reflection of our homelessness situation or a massaging of the figures as a result of ‘re-categorisation.”

Cllr Byrne said “Louth County Council was instructed recently by the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, to remove a number of people from this report who were placed in local authority owned or leased housing stock as emergency accommodation.”

This recent instruction prompted Cllr Byrne to promise publicly that she would hold officials to account over what she termed the ‘sheer manipulation of the reality of homelessness in Louth.”

Speaking at this month’s Council meeting, Cllr Byrne told officials “We now have a report in front of us that is not a true reflection of the situation. It fathoms me how you expect us to assess the current state of play in regards to homelessness when you are re-categorising the reports and not including the figures you have removed. I am asking you to change the report for next month and include a new section that reflects the number of people that have been removed and placed in this type of accommodation. It is still emergency accommodation regardless of who owns the properties and until a long term tenancy through social housing or HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) is secured, they remain as homeless, no matter what way you want to dress it up!”

Joe McGuinness, Director of Service’s for Housing in Louth recognised Cllr Byrne’s concerns and assured her he would look to rectify the report for the next meeting.

Homeless figures expose government housing failure – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the May 2018 homeless figures published last week for Louth as shameful and he accused the Housing Minister Eoin Murphy of “failing to effectively tackle this housing scandal.”

Compared with May 2017 the figures show – despite the Minister’s efforts to re-categorise the numbers of people defined as homeless – that the number of families and children in Louth emergency accommodation has continued to rise.

Gerry Adams said:

“One year ago in May 2017 there were 18 families with 44 children on the homeless figures for the North East, almost all of them in Louth.

12 months later and despite the claims of progress by Minister Murphy, May 2018 saw 25 families homeless in Louth with a total of 55 children.

In addition, in May 2017 there were 7,699 people homeless of whom 2,777 were children. One year later and these figures have jumped to 9,846 homeless of whom 3,826 are children.

Of particular concern is the increase in the number of homeless children which at almost four thousand in a scandal. The number of homeless pensioners is up 38% in one year with the state unable to house 128 pensioners.

At the same time these statistics do not include the hidden homeless. The adults and children in Tusla funded domestic violence shelters, those in direct provision centres or those sleeping on sofa’s with family and friends.

All of this must be set against the Ministers decision to remove almost 300 people from the figures. But even this scam cannot hide the reality that there is a homeless emergency that is not going to get better without urgent action. 

There are solutions to this housing crisis. Sinn Féin and others have presented credible alternatives to the current debacle, including the purchase of turnkey homes, and far more ambitious Housing First targets, Unfortunately, for the adults and children existing in emergency accommodation this government is choosing not to listen.”