Calls for Kelly to act on 'tsunami' of homelessness
Environment Minister Alan Kelly has no plans to cut short his holiday to deal with the "tsunami" of homelessness sweeping the country.
Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O'Brien yesterday called on the minister to return to Dublin to take urgent action as new figures revealed 616 family homes were the subject of repossession orders in the first six months of this year.
A spokesman for the minister said Mr Kelly is in constant contact with officials and he is up to date on the issue.
According to figures released by the Court Service, 616 family homes were the subject of repossession orders in the first six months of this year, and orders for reposession were granted against a further 284 other properties during the period.
Dublin and Cork households were particularly hard hit, with 97 families losing their home in Dublin and 91 in Cork over the period.
Other figures show there were 3,395 civil bills lodged in the first six months of the year. These are the first stage of the repossessions process and an indicator of the massive problem coming down the line.
"We are seeing a tsunami of home repossessions sweeping the country. The fact that over 600 family homes have already been repossessed since the start of the year is extremely worrying."
He said the problem of long-term arrears needs urgent action. "There are 37,933 owner-occupiers more than two years behind in their mortgage payments," he said.
"This category now constitutes 36pc of all accounts in arrears, and 79pc of arrears outstanding.
"The IMF has noted that mortgages continue to move into long-term arrears and said the problem 'will require intensified and sustained efforts' from the authorities here,'" he added
"We have seen a 55pc surge in the number of homeless families since the start of the year.
"The failure to tackle the mortgage crisis is playing a significant role in these appalling figures."
Mr O'Brien said it was an utter disgrace that families with young children are sleeping rough on the streets of our capital.
"Yet we have a minister who is a self-professed straight talker and action man who is doing nothing and has stayed silent on this issue," he added.