Homeless taken from hotels on March 17th, says Higgins

Pringle says housing crisis countrywide

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins: “We need a massive programme of public home building – social and affordable.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins: “We need a massive programme of public home building – social and affordable.” Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 


Homeless families were moved out of hotels on St Patrick’s Day because of increased prices due to the national feast day, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins told the Dáil.

“These unfortunate people were shunted somewhere else. This is the Ireland of 2014 over which the Government presides but it does not get the scale of the suffering.’’


Property bubble
Mr Higgins said that since the 1970s, there had been the privatisation of the provision of homes and the property bubble when developers and bankers in pursuit of massive profits were allowed to speculate outrageously.

“To rely on the private sector now to resolve the problem with a new housebuilding programme is futile,’’ he added. “We need a massive programme of public home building – social and affordable.’’

Mr Higgins said major construction companies should be taken into public ownership and diverted in that direction and local authorities must directly build homes. There was also a need for immediate rent controls, he added.

“In terms of raw materials, there are tens of thousands of willing construction workers languishing on the dole who are desperate to build homes,’’ Mr Higgins said.

Mr Higgins was speaking during a debate on a private member’s motion, moved by the technical group, calling for Government action on homelessness.

Dara Murphy (FG) said he complimented Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan on being able to maintain funding more or less at €600 million.

Donegal South-West Independent TD Thomas Pringle said that while there was no doubt about the housing crisis in urban areas, it extended countrywide.


Breaking point
Independent TD Finian McGrath said it was accepted by all parties that current housing resources and supports were at breaking point.

He said more attention should be paid to low-paid workers being refused mortgages for two-bedroom apartments or small houses by building societies.