GOV LATEST QUANGO WILL NOT SOLVE THE HOUSING CRISIS – MUNSTER

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has said that the proposed Land Development Agency is a case of ‘the Government reverting to mistakes of the past, where the housing market is Private Developer Led and Private Developer Driven.’

Deputy Munster said:

This latest stunt highlights the government’s point blank refusal to provide funding for the roll out of a proper social and affordable house building programme. As Fine Gael and Minister Murphy give ‘state owned lands’ to private developers telling them that they only have to provide a mere 10% for social housing, there are almost 100,000 people on the social housing waiting list nationwide as well as all those who will never be in a position to own their own home.

In Louth alone there are 4112 families on the housing list many of whom have been waiting for upwards of a decade to be housed. Meanwhile the government has consistently refused to fund Louth County Council to enable them to build social housing on the 50 acres of council owned land banks held throughout the county.

And who will the proposed 30% in affordable homes serve? It certainly won’t be the 50% of our population who earn less than €28,000 per annum. The price of an affordable home was put forward yesterday as being in the region of €320,000 meaning that the purchaser will need to have €32,000 in savings for the deposit before they start; then they will have to follow that up with a mortgage of €288,000 for which they will need to be earning a minimum of €82,000 per annum in order to afford an ‘affordable home’.

The Housing crisis will never be solved by this government. Instead they are reverting to mistakes of the past where the housing market is private developer led and private developer driven. They are ideologically opposed to funding the building of social and affordable housing.

Local Authorities should be funded to develop the sites and council owned land banks to build social housing, affordable rental and affordable homes.

That’s the only way to tackle the housing crisis.

Daft report confirms that Government has no plan, no clue – Munster

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, has said that the latest Daft report has only confirmed that which we all knew; “rents have spiralled out of control and show no signs of slowing down”.

Teachta Munster said that it was clear that the meagre government efforts to date have had no impact and it was time for Minister Eoghan Murphy and the government to take strong, definitive action to address the housing situation which has descended far past crisis point.

Rents have risen 12.4% in a year, with the average rent now standing at €1,304. Limerick City and Waterford city has seen rises of 20% since last year.

The Louth and East Meath TD said:

“The Government’s reliance on the private sector to solve the housing crisis and the Minister’s light touch philosophy has had no impact.

“The Rent Pressure Zones were unambitious to begin with and demonstrated the reluctance of Fine Gael to interfere with a market that is dysfunctional at best, fundamentally broken at worst. Similarly, the anaemic level of construction of social and affordable housing is simply driving people towards that private sector market, driving up rents for all.

“Rent certainty, the Focus Ireland amendment that would keep families in their homes, an ambitious and necessary investment in social and affordable housing; these are the policy objectives that the government would be better served in pursuing. Media appearances telling the people that it’s not as bad as it looks are insulting and an embarrassing indication that the government truly doesn’t know how bad the housing emergency has become.

“It is clear that this government, backed to the hilt by their partners in Fianna Fáil, is doing more harm than good when it comes to the housing crisis. They have no plan and it seems they haven’t a clue either.”

Munster: Co-ordinated Action required to Stop Joyriders on Beach

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has written to Garda James Cannon and Meath County Council CEO Jackie Maguire following the surge of dangerous anti-social behaviour on Bettystown Beach.

Deputy Munster said:

Residents and holidaymakers in Bettystown and Laytown are angry that this problem is not being taken more seriously and have called for a greater Garda presence in the area.

“One lady who contacted me said she was playing football on the beach with her three young children at 4.45 one evening last week when a car driven by three or four youths sped through the bollards of the ‘no car zone’, weaving in between children playing football, only narrowly missing one of them in the process.

“ Speeding past the life guard’s hut they brazenly proceeded to do ‘donuts’ further up the strand without any fear of being stopped.

The beach was packed with families enjoying the sunny weather at the time.

A female Garda who arrived 25 minutes after being called was hardly in a position to confront this unruly group of lads on her own.

According to locals this type of behaviour is a regular occurrence on the beach especially in the summer evenings. 

And it’s not only the %

Imelda Munster: HSE Personnel Should Decide, Not Computers

Call for local frontline HSE staff to make exceptional circumstances decisions over inhuman computer generated figures

Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has criticised the HSE for its uneconomical method of withdrawing medical cards from people who are seriously ill. The HSE uses computer generated figures, without an iota of compassion or common sense.

Deputy Munster said:

‘I have been contacted by many seriously ill constituents recently, who are distraught that their Medical Card has been withdrawn because their income is marginally over the limit allowed. The Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) system, which operates on computer generated figures, needs to loosen up and bring a bit of human compassion back into its reckoning.”

“They are dealing with people not machines, and all too often the people who contact me about this issue are suffering from serious or life threatening illnesses. The additional anxiety and stress that they have to endure because of this heartless system just compounds their health issues.”

“When they lose their GMS medical card and find that they can’t pay for the prescriptions that they depend on, even within the Drugs Payment Scheme, people have no option other than to endanger their lives by doing without essential medicines and hospital appointments.”

“Amongst others I have been contacted by a man who can’t afford his heart medication and I have seen a number of people with asthma and COPD lung disease who can’t afford to get their inhalers. Another lady who has suffered multiple aneurysms and has high blood pressure has had her card cancelled and is going without important medication.”

“The ridiculous part of this is that it doesn’t even make economic sense. The Department of Health still has to pay for anything in excess of €134 at retail prices under the Drugs Payment Scheme rather than at cost price under the General Medical Services.”

“I have written to the Minister for Health requesting that local frontline HSE staff who are in a position to advise regarding exceptional circumstances be brought back into the decision making process on these cases.”

“By making sick people even sicker this government shows a complete lack of compassion for those who need some breathing space as they navigate acute episodes of care.”

Private Ambulances hired by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital cost half a million euro in 2017 – Munster

Louth TD Imelda Munster has described HSE figures on the cost of private ambulances in Louth as “deeply shocking and public money down the drain”.

Deputy Munster said:

Our Lady of Lourdes hospital has spent almost three million euro on private ambulances over the last seven years reaching its highest ever figure of €496,031 in 2017. This is an exorbitant figure and it certainly does not represent value for tax payers money. Louth County Hospital spent over €21,000 Euro since 2012 with a peak spend of €8537 in 2016.

A hospital’s Ambulance Service is the front line of emergency medical and pre-hospital care and they play a vital role in saving lives as well as transferring patients. It should be noted that the total of €31 million spent on private ambulance services since 2011 by the HSE nationwide would have bought at least 140 fully equipped emergency ambulance. Our Lady of Lourdes hospital could have purchased thirteen new ambulances over the same period.

The HSE’s failure to invest in new ambulances will result in the continued disintegration of the ambulance asset stock which will cause even further reliance on private providers. This is evidenced in the fact that the cost of hiring private ambulances has quadrupled since 2011 from €2,128,882 to over €8 million last year.

The government needs to ensure that we have a high quality, publicly owned stock of ambulances instead of putting money into the pockets of private companies. I have written to the Minister calling on him to give direction to the HSE that this practice has to stop.