Government and Universities need strategy on student housing – Ellis

Sinn Féin TD and Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis has called on the government to work more closely with universities and colleges to provide a strategy for housing students. He made his comments as the students prepare to sit their Leaving Cert exams, with the hope of many being to attend a third level college and leave home in the autumn.

Deputy Ellis said:

“This is a problem we face every year and it is a difficult one which requires a tailored approach. Students generally do not need their housing year round, so the private market is poorly equipped to provide for them. The many thousands of students hoping to live in Dublin and other large towns and cities will be putting extra pressure on the rental market and this can lead to higher rents.

“In the context of a wider housing shortage, this could mean an increase in homelessness which is already growing at an alarming rate with 1000 children in emergency accommodation.

“The amount of purpose built student accommodation provided by Universities is very low. The government need to sit down with Universities and draw up a strategy which will support the provision of affordable, secure and adequate student housing which is near to campus or regular transport routes.

“In other European cities, special efforts are made to provide tailored affordable housing for students and Dublin, Cork or Galway should be no different. It is not just about providing for students who need a healthy living environment for successful studies, but also the wider housing shortage which is causing massive suffering for the many low and middle income families.”

Harrowing human stories represent the Government’s abject failure to address homelessness in Dublin – Dessie Ellis TD

_DSC0065Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has stated that harrowing human stories provide the sharpest representation of how the government has failed to address the worsening crisis of homelessness in the capital city.

The TD for Dublin North-West said that emergency accommodation in Dublin is at capacity every night and temporary assistance from the Civil Defence has been sought this month.

Deputy Ellis said:

“We now have a situation in which sixteen families a week are being made homeless in Dublin. The stories of human hardship coming out of this crisis provide the sharpest representation of how the government has failed to adequately address homelessness in this city.

“One such story is that of a family who were designated as homeless four months ago. Due to the lack of any other option, they spent three months in Bewleys Hotel by Dublin Airport and the last two weeks in the Metro Hotel.

“They have two daughters aged two years and six months.

“They were told at 11.45am this morning that they had to leave at 12pm. The family contacted the homeless section of Dublin City Council who then started a search for new accommodation.

“However, at 3.30pm the family were told that the police would be called and they would be asked to remove them. The homeless section also said that the family would have to leave but that they would continue their efforts on behalf of the family.”

Deputy Ellis continued by saying that the family’s hardship is the direct result of a government that is unwilling to acknowledge the scale of the housing crisis.

He said:

“This government has failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the crisis and subsequently they have failed to direct sufficient resources and funding into combatting homelessness.

“Services are struggling to keep up with the demand for emergency places and follow-on placements including independent-living housing.

“It is a national scandal.”

Letter box let down


Ballymun Ward Local election candidate Noeleen Reilly has criticised the sub-standard letter boxes used on new homes built during the regeneration.
She said, ‘During my campaigning around Ballymun I have noticed many houses and apartments are missing their letter boxes. There were 1,800 replacement homes built in Ballymun and 1,300 private homes during the regeneration. From what I can see the standard of materials used leaves a lot to be desired. Houses not even occupied a year are without their letterboxes.
She further added ‘This may seem like a small problem to some people, but in reality homes without letterboxes cause a number of problems. Firstly It goes without saying a home with a gaping hole in the door is going to let in a draft. Families can’t block this up as they want to receive their mail but it will increase the likelihood of increased heating bills as people attempt to keep their homes warm. Secondly there is the security risk from intruders. The letterbox method involves criminals reaching in with a cane, coat hanger of other instrument to unclick a lock or pull down a door handle from inside. This becomes certainly easier with the absence of a letter box. I think in future all letter boxes need to be quality checked by the council. Simple matter likes these should not be causing so many problems. END

Ellis urges swift action on homelessness


_DSC0065Sinn Féin’s Housing spokesperson has called on the Fine Gael and Labour government to take swift action on a number of small issues contributing to rising homelessness.

Deputy Ellis said;

“Every statistic released over the last 12 months has shown a dramatic rise in people experiencing homelessness. Now Threshold say their services have seen a 77% increase. Swift focused action is needed.

“The government don’t want to row back on cuts but to stop this growth some compromise is needed.

“Restoration of social welfare payments to young people who are coming out of care or homelessness is essential. The cap on rent allowance must be raised and the minimum contribution reduced.

“In cases where landlords are ceasing with Rent Supplement or RAS contracts the Local Authority must step in.

“A code of conduct is needed for banks dealing with distressed buy to let mortgages.

“The government have increased homelessness through their austerity agenda and they must face up to that.

“In the long term we need a major step up of public housing provision through new builds and renovation.”

Varadkar should support rail not stir-up unrest – Ellis

_DSC0065Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has criticised Minister Varadkar for stirring up industrial unrest by claiming strikes by rail workers were inevitable in the coming months. This was despite claims by Irish Rail and the NBRU that this was not the case.

Ellis continued;

“Maybe Minister Varadkar knows something we don’t about the future of Irish Rail. He certainly has shown little regard for supporting public transport or good conditions for workers.

“Irish Rail and the NBRU have now rubbished Varadkar inflammatory and alarmist statements and he should retract them.

“Minister Varadkar has on a number of occasions shown he is more interested in passing comment and getting press coverage than he is in solving problems and avoiding conflict.

“It is his cuts which are threatening public transport so if he feels strikes are inevitable maybe he should stay quiet until he has reviewed his policies.”

Labours decision to introduce apprenticeship fees a regressive mean measure – Lynn Boylan Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate

Lynn Boylan

Following today’s launch of the Technical Engineering & Electrical Union (TEEU) and the Union of Students in Ireland’s (USI) launch of their joint campaign against the introduction of apprentice fees Sinn Féin Dublin EU election candidate Lynn Boylan described the Labours party’s attack on young people, particularly those on low income, as relentless.
Attending the launch Lynn Boylan secured a commitment from Labours Dublin MEP Emer Costello, who spoke at the event that she would call on Education and Skills Minister Ruairi Quinn TD to meet with the TEEU as a matter of urgency. General Secretary of the TEEU told today’s campaign launch that it was the first time in his 30 years of his involvement in the union that a Minister had refused to meet with them.
The young Dublin Sinn Féin EU candidate said:
“I want to welcome today’s launch of the TEEU and USI joint campaign against the introduction of apprentice fees and I pledge Sinn Féin’s full support in the fight against this penny pinching regressive measure.
“Speaking at today’s campaign launch Labours Dublin MEP claim that she was championing youth unemployment in Brussels was yet another example of Emer Costello’s astonishing ability to speak out of both sides of her mouth.
“Labour in government has relentlessly attacked young people, particularly those on low incomes. Labour in Government has cut basic social welfare rates for the under 25s, offered up a paltry €14 million for a Youth Guarantee , fallen far short of providing the necessary training place, and have now introduced apprenticeship fees.
“Despite the devastating impact the fees will have on young peoples’ ability to attend or complete apprenticeships Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn has so far refused to meet with TEEU to discuss the matter. General Secretary of the TEEU told today’s campaign launch that it was the first time in his 30 years of his involvement in the union that a Minister had refused to meet with them.
“No amount of spin by Emer Costello, nor the PR company she employs, can shield the Dublin MEP from the anger and disappointment felt by young people and their across the capital city. Labour in government has failed young people.”

Lynn Boylan

Lynn Boylan

Government trying to disguise cut to housing grants for the elderly – Ellis


_DSC0065Sinn Féin Housing Dessie Ellis spokesperson has condemned the government for attempting to misrepresent a cut to elderly housing grants as a reallocation of funds. He made his comments as Age Action, an organisation which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people, criticised the cut.

Deputy Ellis said;

“This is a cut plain and simple. It is a well-worn tactic of this government to claim they are reallocating funds to disguise an overall cut. Funds may be reallocated but not back into housing as is so desperately needed.

“The adaptation grant scheme in Dublin had to close last summer due to lack of funds. Now they are making it harder for older people to even be eligible by raising the age to 66, raising contributions and reducing the maximum grant by a fifth.

“If the government and the Minister can’t stand over their cuts then they should reconsider them. For the sake of many older people living in inappropriate conditions I hope they do.”


Noeleen Banner

Lufthansa jobs could have been saved through government intervention – Ellis

_DSC0065Lufthansa jobs could have been saved through government intervention – Ellis

Sinn Féin’s Deputy Dessie Ellis has condemned the government for not intervening in the Lufthansa dispute following the news that 411 workers at the company are to receive their redundancy notice this Friday.

Deputy Ellis said;

“The reality is that many of these jobs could have been saved had the government taken a serious interest in the future of these workers and their families. They didn’t and they allowed the company to treat these workers in a disgraceful manner.

“Earlier today Sinn Féin stated that the Government cannot allow the company to wash its hands of its responsibility to offer the workers a fair redundancy package.

“The company walked away from negotiations with the union. Now the workers and their families will spend the Christmas holidays feeling vulnerable and very uncertain about their financial futures.

“The government must set about securing a future for the plant and not pass the responsibility to other agencies.”

“We must also raise the point about the negative impact this will have on the local economy.

“The Government has a target for 20,000 additional manufacturing jobs and they are failing to reach this target. Each job in the manufacturing sector supports almost two others in the wider community as they are quality skilled jobs.

Iarnród Éireann must increase carriages at peak times – Ellis

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis has called on Iarnród Éireann to increase carriage numbers at peak times to deal with dangerous overcrowding.

Speaking today Deputy Ellis said;

“Recently and particularly over this weekend I have been contacted by members of the public who have had to endure very crowded train conditions due to a shortage of carriages.

“This is potentially dangerous and should be a major concern for Irish Rail. It is also bad for the company’s viability.

“Public transport with fare increases and route cuts has been made less attractive by government cuts. These shortages further discourage potential and current passengers as well as result in lost potential revenue.

“How can Irish Rail be profitable if it does not provide services that people need? The company should immediately increase carriages at peak times particularly on commuter and DART trains.”