Homelessness emergency needs whole-of-government response
THE country’s homelessness national emergency needs a whole-of-Government response, with monthly targets and delivery reports, Fianna Fáil Deputy Pat Casey told the Dáil. ‘We must declare that the common good of the people dictates that the Government must ensure a minimum standard of housing for all of our people,’ he said.
Speaking during a debate on homelessness, he said there are almost 10,000 homeless human beings in Ireland today who need to see delivery on homes. There are also the uncounted thousands known as Ireland’s hidden homeless, those who are still living with parents or in overcrowded accommodation because the Government in 2019 cannot ensure an adequate supply of homes.
‘Just as frightening is the fact that hard-working people, including public servants such as nurses and gardaí, and young men and women working in industry – will never afford to own their own home in Fine Gael’s so-called republic of opportunity,’ he said. ‘We have been elected to represent the common good and to ensure it is vindicated, and we should not be afraid to call out the truth. We in Fianna Fáil have not played, and will not play, politics with homelessness and housing. Looking for ministerial heads, looking for an irresponsible and premature general election, will not take a single family out of homelessness. Outrage politics will not build a single home. The politics of continuous protest will not generate the practical solutions that can be put in place to radically increase the availability of affordable homes for all Irish people.’
Deputy Casey said homes can only be built on appropriately zoned lands. Builders in the construction industry build these homes and have a duty of quality of provision. ‘Planners ensure that homes are appropriate to the area in which they are being built and they have a duty to gear up to this crisis,” he said. “An Bord Pleanála decides appeals and must do so quickly and with a view to the scale of Ireland’s homelessness crisis. Politicians who come into the House to complain about homelessness but then object to the building of homes need to reflect on the hypocrisy shown. Irish Water needs to ensure that it is not a block to the development of housing.’