Time for action on back to school costs- Ellis

Sinn Féin TD for Dublin North West, Dessie Ellis has called on the government to start to help working families in a real sense and not just to talk about it. “We are living in a society where it’s beyond the monetary means for families to maintain a basic standard of living. The cost of living is through the roof with high rents, rising prices in childcare, insurance hikes and we have hikes in bin charges, property tax and water charges. “
Deputy Ellis continued; “The survey from the credit unions today puts extra pressure again on families. The Irish League of Credit Unions survey found that 31% of parents find themselves in debt to over back to school costs, which have increased year on year since 2012 and now cost €967 for a child at primary school while sending a child back to secondary school will cost €1474. The cut the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance in 2014 by one third for primary school and secondary school pupils are crippling families across this state, particularly those on low incomes and Sinn Féin has consistently called for measures that will help ease that burden. The first step is to reverse the cuts in the back to school allowance and extend the School Meals Programme by 40%, increased capitation to primary and secondary schools by 10% over a Dáil term and an increase in the School Books Grant by 30%. These actions would go some way in alleviating pressures on families.”

Ellis calls for action on housing from Minister Coveney and the Government.

Speaking in Leinster House last week Sinn Féin TD for Dublin North West Dessie Ellis called on the Minister Coveney to stop talking and take action on the housing crisis. Deputy Ellis said “One of the greatest failures of government and society has been the housing crisis. People have a right to a home, a right to a shelter for them and their children, it is a terrible indictment of society as a whole that people are living and sleeping on the streets, in cars, on sofas or in any nook and cranny they can find. There is no sense of urgency from this government. But un-fortunately homelessness is the most obvious expression of the crisis, how many families are sleeping in a friend’s or family’s front room. How many people are on the edge of homelessness, in mortgage arrears wondering and worrying when they will be turfed out of their homes? What kind of society are we living in; the cost of living is creating a class of people that can’t survive even when they are working. High rents, rising prices in childcare, insurance hikes and we have hikes in bin charges, property tax and water charges. This country under Fine Gael is a country for rich people.

Sinn Fein’s spokesperson on housing continued. “We need a change of attitude and a sense of urgency that is why we cannot rely on the private sector. The only answer is for the establishment of a strategic planning national housing corporation which would be involved in all elements of policy, design and the planning process for future housing needs. This would plan house building in a proper manner and speed up the planning process. We need to build more social houses which in itself will bring down rental prices and provide for our hard pressed families. You keep telling us money is not an issue or a problem yet we hear about fiscal rules and stability, it is time to declare an emergency crisis. Some quick solutions are easily achievable the 10% for social housing from part 5 is totally inadequate. Compulsory Purchase Orders’ must also be looked at more closely as my experience is one of houses lying idle for many years, your department needs to talk to DCC as in my area we have houses lying idle for over ten years. It’s just not good enough we need to act now because if we don’t we will still be here in 10 years talking about the same thing.”