Social campaigner and founder of Focus Ireland Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to show leadership on the housing crisis.
Sr Stan said the Government could “with a stroke of a pen take action to prevent more families becoming homeless this very month by increasing the rent supplement and by delivering rent certainty to landlords and tenants”.
Delivering the annual Whitaker Lecture at Drogheda’s Highlanes Gallery, Sr Stan said it should be a source of national shame that as the country prepares to mark the century of the Easter Rising, the right to a home “has become a debased currency”.
“While the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has accepted that we have a housing and homeless crisis, the response from his Government has not been a crisis one. Each day the numbers of homeless people is increasing and now needs an emergency response,” she said.
Sr Stan said action on the housing crisis has been “piecemeal” and said an emergency response is urgently needed from the Government.
“We need to immediately stop the flow of families into homelessness and a short term and long term response to provide good quality housing in sustainable communities where there is access to health, education and welfare - this will not be achieved unless departments work together,” she said.
She said there must be an increase in rent supplement and delivery of rent certainty, adding a “firm hand” must be taken with banks to avoid an increase in the number of home repossessions.
“I am making a direct appeal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to knock heads together including Nama, developers, local authorities etc as well as his ministers and top civil servants, set up an emergency task force to replace rhetoric with real actions.
“By showing leadership now we can offer some hope to those facing desperation,” she said.