Hous­ing spokesper­son and lo­cal TD moves to ex­plain why FF sup­ported Dáil mo­tion

Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

AS Fianna Fáil pre­pared to dra­mat­i­cally vote against the Gov­ern­ment by sup­port­ing a mo­tion to de­clare the hous­ing cri­sis a ‘na­tional emer­gency’, the party’s spokesper­son on hous­ing and lo­cal TD, Deputy Dar­ragh O’brien ex­plained why.

In the Dáil de­bate on the is­sue that oc­curred on the same night as a huge hous­ing protest called ‘Raise the Roof ’ out­side Le­in­ster House, Deputy O’brien said: ‘The scale and depth of the hous­ing cri­sis rep­re­sents the most se­ri­ous chal­lenge we face as a coun­try to­day. Spi­ralling so­cial hous­ing wait­ing lists. The scars of home­less­ness pock­mark­ing our cities. Renters strug­gling to find a place then scrap­ping to­gether money to make ends meet. The dream of home own­er­ship slip­ping away from a gen­er­a­tion.

‘The cri­sis is every­where. The State needs to step up, as it did in the 1930’s, to pro­vide homes for its cit­i­zens.

‘This mo­tion places hous­ing front and cen­tre on the po­lit­i­cal stage days be­fore a crit­i­cal bud­get. That’s ex­actly where it needs to be.’

He said: ‘The up­com­ing bud­get must be a hous­ing bud­get. That’s why Fianna Fail is sup­port­ing the prin­ci­ples of this mo­tion.’

Mov­ing on to pos­si­ble means of ad­dress­ing the cri­sis Deputy O’brien said: ‘In declar­ing a na­tional emer­gency we need to be clear about what spe­cific pow­ers are re­quired. The re­cent In­de­con re­port on a va­cant home tax called for a ma­jor pro­gramme of com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders on suit­able res­i­den­tial va­cant prop­er­ties. Equip­ping Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties with the re­sources and clear pow­ers to CPO prop­er­ties would serve two pur­poses. First it would di­rectly in­crease the num­ber of units avail­able for so­cial hous­ing. Se­condly it would send a clear sig­nal of in­tent to any­one spec­u­lat­ing on a va­cant prop­erty and in­cen­tivise its use. ‘

The lo­cal TD made the point: ‘The State has suf­fi­cient land for over 42,000 units. Far more if NAMA is in­cluded. The newly an­nounced Land De­vel­op­ment Agency has the po­ten­tial to help man­age land ef­fec­tively and bring new units on stream. How­ever it will not de­liver units for years.

‘It once again comes back to de­liv­ery. Tar­gets and al­lo­ca­tions mean noth­ing if the units are not de­liv­ered.

‘The role of the State should not be rel­e­gated to a mid­dle man for land sales. The State has to take the lead in di­rect build, sup­port­ing Ap­proved Hous­ing Bod­ies and launch­ing a com­pre­hen­sive af­ford­able hous­ing scheme.

‘We can­not leave it solely to the mar­ket. We need an ef­fi­cient State that can de­liver for its cit­i­zens in this most ba­sic of ar­eas.’

Deputy Dar­ragh O’brien TD

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