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.”

Fianna Fáil at it again

This week in the Dáil Sinn Féin tabled a Bill which would protect workers who are on low hour contracts. These workers, mainly in the retail sector, are faced daily with precarious conditions, contracts which have them on 15 hours a week when they really work 30 and 40, conditions that make it next to impossible to plan for the future – kids, mortgage, childcare etc.

Sinn Féin’s Bill provides that a worker, or their union representative, would be entitled, after six months of continuous employment, to make a request to the employer to be moved to an increased weekly band of hours.

Last night Fianna Fáil, in a pathetic attempt to play politics with people’s livelihoods, indicated their intent to block this Bill when it comes to a vote on Thursday. Just like they did with the scrapping of water charges and reversal of bin charge hikes.