For­mer FG TD votes with Op­po­si­tion

The Argus - - NEWS -

JUST days af­ter an­nounc­ing that he in­tends run­ning as an In­de­pen­dent can­di­date in the next Gen­eral Elec­tion and re­sign­ing from Fine Gael, Dun­dalk TD Pe­ter Fitz­patrick voted against the Gov­ern­ment in a Dail de­bate about the hous­ing cri­sis last Thurs­day.

Deputy Fitz­patrick joined the ma­jor­ity of the Op­po­si­tion which saw the Gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence an em­bar­rass­ing de­feat on a mo­tion put for­ward by the Sol­i­dar­ity Peo­ple Be­fore Profit group.

The mo­tion, which had called on the Gov­ern­ment to in­crease spend­ing to €2.3 bil­lion on so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing, to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion mak­ing it il­le­gal for land­lords, banks and in­vest­ment funds to evict ten­ants and home­own­ers in mort­gage dis­tress, and to hold a ref­er­en­dum to en­shrine a right to hous­ing in the Con­sti­tu­tion, was car­ried by 83 votes to 43.

Speak­ing dur­ing the de­bate, Deputy Fitz­patrick said that while Louth County Coun­cil has had suc­cess in the use of com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders, CPOs, for re­cov­er­ing va­cant and derelict prop­er­ties, this was ‘only the tip of the ice­berg’.

He urged the Gov­ern­ment to tar­get prop­er­ties which were held by banks and vul­ture funds, who he ac­cused of wait­ing for val­ues to go up.

Deputy Fitz­patrick also called on the Gov­ern­ment to al­low lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to build on their land banks by pro­vid­ing the ap­provals for same and cov­er­ing the land pur­chase costs which the coun­cils are car­ry­ing.

‘Is the Min­is­ter aware that Louth County Coun­cil is board­ing up a va­cant prop­erty be­cause it can­not af­ford to carry out the nec­es­sary work be­fore it re-lets the prop­erty?’ he asked. ‘ That is se­ri­ous.’

He also called for a new rent pres­sure zone for Dun­dalk, as rents were in­creas­ing at a faster rate than house prices in the area, and for steps to be taken to pre­vent ten­ants from los­ing their ten­an­cies when prop­er­ties are re­pos­sessed by banks.

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