TD blames greed in building industry for housing abuses


A "conspiracy of greed between land speculators, house builders and construction industry bosses" is preventing tens of thousands of people from owning a home, the national conference of the Socialist Party has heard.

Mr Joe Higgins TD said the construction industry was to blame for the suffering of "ordinary people who cannot put a roof over their heads". Addressing the conference in Athlone yesterday, he said there was a black economy in the industry, which victimised workers who wanted to be part of the PAYE and PRSI system.

Mr Higgins added: "Greed has also been a major factor in the tragic deaths of 18 construction workers this year. Nakedly avaricious cost-cutting dictates that health and safety conditions are minimal on numerous building sites, with catastrophic consequences for workers and their families."

The main political parties shared a large part of the responsibility for the situation, he claimed. "Accepting large donations from the construction industry, they deliberately sat idle while the abuses in construction and housing grew and flourished."

Mr Higgins said the building workers who went to Mountjoy Prison and the hundreds of colleagues who supported them, could stand "proud and tall" as they fought for decency in the workplace.

The workers were "rooting out tax evasion and abuse of workers, while the millionaires and others who have been exposed as blatantly defrauding the taxpayer and working other scams never darken the doorway of a courthouse.