Government attacking disadvantaged communities with CE cuts

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Government’s proposed cuts to community employment funding, Sinn Féin Dublin Northwest TD Dessie Ellis accused the government of“attacking disadvantaged communities”.

“The Government is proposing to cut €27.5 million from the community employment scheme budget in 2012. This is exactly the same amount of money as the Government allowed NAMA to spend on legal fees to private companies since 2010.”

Local Representative Noeleen Reilly attended a protest on CE cuts outside Leinster House on the day Sinn Féin put forward a Private Members’ Bill on Community Employment Cuts.

She stated “Under pressure from a strong campaign Minister Burton has announced a review of the proposed cut. This is nothing more than a smoke screen to give cover to the embarrassment of Labour backbenchers faced with local anger over the cut.
“The decision to cut this funding is nothing more than an attack on disadvantaged communities. It is an attack on the long term unemployed, on older people and people with disabilities.

“What is worse is that the Minister in her speech yesterday tried to hide behind the Troika, blaming them for ‘not recognising the social value of CE’. Worse still the Minister selectively quoted academic research to justify her decision to attacks community employment schemes.

“Community Employment schemes provide a valuable service to both the unemployed and to disadvantaged communities. Cutting their funding is wrong. Indeed at a time of rising unemployment and social inequality the Government should be increasing investment in community employment.”

Government and local authorities must stop offensive on social housing

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government and local authorities to stop their offensive against social housing and to make serious efforts to develop a fit for purpose public housing system. He made his comments in light of the practice of Dublin City Council of removing people in the Rental Accommodation Scheme from its housing waiting list.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“The Tánaiste today incorrectly said that this was not happening in every case. The local authorities are removing people from the waiting lists if they are on RAS or going on to RAS which does not solve the housing crisis but does conceal the extent of the problem.

“The council and the government are attempting to make local authority housing a thing of the past. They have sought through every measure of recent memory to either deplete or damage the social housing stock with sell off schemes, no attempt to replenish and the continued refusal to properly address long running maintenance and repair issues.

“The council now removes those housed with private landlords through RAS from their waiting lists. This is a further sign of their offensive. The aim is to make local authority housing only available to the most in need and force everyone else to seek housing in the private market. This is not good for local authorities or the quality of housing.

“RAS, Rent supplement and other methods of subsidising private housing were not a solution but really an emergency measure. They have become less secure methods as funding has been cut and rents have gone up. Rent supplement perpetuates the poverty trap. Landlords can decide to sell the RAS accommodation in the middle of the tenancy period. Security is essential for providing good housing and this is not available through these measures.

“The long term solution is a viable public housing stock with mixed and secure tenure. This will allow communities to develop and people to step out of the cycle of poverty as well as bringing much needed funds to local government.”