Sinn Féin 'playing silly buggers' over rent plan
Sinn Féin has been accused of "playing politics" and of "playing silly buggers" in its proposal to link rents to the rate of inflation in a bid to help tackle the housing crisis.
Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil criticised the private members motion from Sinn Féin deputy Eoin Ó Broin ahead of the publication of the report of the Committee on Housing and Homlessness this Friday.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that Sinn Féin is "playing politics" with the issue and leader Gerry Adams (right) is prejudging the outcome of the committee.
Fianna Fáil environment spokesman Barry Cowen claimed the motion is "a bit of silly buggers, old politics".
He pointed out that it was Sinn Féin that proposed the establishment of the Housing Committee.
"Eoin Ó Broin has been to the forefront on behalf of his party within that committee and I'm very disappointed that his party has sought to gazump that or undermine that process with this Bill which our party won't be supporting for that very reason," Mr Cowen added.
A draft of the committee's report does includes a recommendation on rent certainty measures.
Mr O'Broin last night introduced the rent certainty motion into the Dáil.He responded to Mr Kenny and Mr Cowen's remarks saying he "listened very carefully" to Mr Kenny's remarks that the Bill would pre-empt the housing committee's report.
"Of course the Taoiseach didn't have the same problem with his colleagues announcing a €200m local infrastructure housing fund today despite the fact that is an issue also under consideration [by the committee]," he said.
He added that he doubted that "the thousands of families struggling with out of control rents would agree" with Mr Kenny's comments that Sinn Féin was playing party politics.
On Mr Cowen's argument that Sinn Féin is gazumping the work of the Housing Committee, Mr Ó Broin pointed out that Fianna Fáil has a motion related to housing in the Seanad today.
Mr Ó Broin said he was "disappointed" at the positions taken by the larger parties.
"I suspect what is happening here is that Fine Gael remain opposed to rent certainty and Fianna Fáil as part of their agreement with the government are helping them avoid any embarrassment."
"The only gazumping going on here is in the private rental sector as desperate families are being forced by government inaction to out bid each other to put a roof over their heads," he added.
Speaking in the chamber Mr Cowen reiterated his view that the housing emergency is the "greatest crisis" facing the country. He said Sinn Féin's motion is "well-meaning" but asked that any vote on the motion be adjourned until after the Dáil has discussed the Housing Committee's report.