Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has said that swift action is needed to address the looming housing crisis.
The Midlands Northwest candidate, who has been the chairperson of County Monaghan’s Housing Strategic Committee for the past five years, was speaking in response to comments from veteran homelessness campaigner Peter McVerry, who criticised the dearth of social housing availability in the State as being a contributing factor to a new homelessness crisis.
Cllr. Carthy said that Sinn Féin councillors have been highlighting the social housing crisis for several years.
Speaking on the campaign trail Cllr Carthy said: “Housing provision in this state has reached crisis point. According to official figures, six new people become homeless every day. At present there are 89,872 households on waiting lists for local authority housing in this state.
“These people are living in cramped unsuitable conditions and in the current system will be waiting a very long time to be housed appropriately. The private rental sector is out of the question for many due to spiralling costs.
“Before the onset of the economic crisis the state was building 4,000-5,000 social housing units a year. However in 2013 the State built just 546 homes at a time when housing need is much more severe. Over 1 billion euro has been cut from the housing budget since 2008 but the number of those in need of social housing has more than doubled.
“I grew up in a local authority house and I know the peace of mind it provided to my mother when we were children. That peace of mind is being robbed from many families as a result of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael policies.”
He said there needs to be serious investment in social housing if the current crisis is to be addressed in any real way.
“A portion of this investment must come from Europe and the European Investment Bank.
“A strong team of Sinn Féin MEPs would fight for investment from the EIB to tackle the housing crisis. This government’s record in drawing down EIB funding has been abysmal. That is why we need strong voices in the European Parliament who are not afraid to put their necks on the line and stand up for Irish interests.”