Monday 23 April 2018

Government's plans to tackle homeless crisis 'not working' - Fianna Fail's stinging attack on Varadkar

Micheal Martin Photo: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin Photo: Gerry Mooney
John Downing

John Downing

The tens of thousands of people suffering due to the housing and homelessness crisis cannot hope for any improvement because Government plans “are not working.”

Those were the words of Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, who began a new Dáil season with a stinging attack on the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the subject.

Mr Martin said 5,187 adults, 1,400 families, and over 3,000 children are now homeless.

“The impact of homelessness on children is quite shocking,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Mr Martin said only 638 social houses were built in 2016 and in the first quarter of 2017 the four Dublin councils failed to build a single social home. He said 120,000 were on a waiting list for homes and some 90 extra people were declared homeless each month.

“Can you not accept that your Government’s policies are just not working?” the Fianna Fáil leader added.

Read More: 'She won't rest in her grave until they have a home' - Heartbreaking tears of Danielle's boys

The Taoiseach conceded that “homelessness is a stain on our society” and he insisted that Government was working to build more homes and make mortgages easier to get.

But Mr Varadkar said that there was momentum gathering on the number of homes being provided.  No houses were built two years ago, hundreds were built last year and thousands were being provided this year.

The Taoiseach said 19,000 new tenancies were provided last year and 21,000 would be provided this year. There was a €5.4bn multi-year plan to provide more homes.

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