Figures on homelessness don’t capture the true extent of Ireland’s housing crisis
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the State is encouraging people and families into hidden homelessness by failing to provide pathways towards long term housing solutions.
The Deputy was commenting following this morning’s briefing held by leading NGO’s; Barnardos, Focus Ireland, the Simon Community and St Vincent de Paul.
He said, “Homelessness is sadly no longer just about those sleeping rough on our streets or the thousands of people living in temporary accommodation but also about the sizeable number of hidden from our view and exempt from housing supports.
“Those who have found themselves to be without a place to call home, hidden from official statistics and not receiving support, can find themselves in precarious situations including couch surfing.
“It’s somewhat difficult to quantify hidden homelessness but we do know that the severe shortage of social and affordable housing is forcing countless children and families into overcrowded, unsuitable and insecure accommodation across the country.
“When those forced into homelessness present themselves to a Local Authority the default position is to suggest that they stay with friends, family or another support network but this is not a reasonable solution.
“It does not address the matter as to why the 20,000 or so people waiting on public housing are in hidden homelessness to survive. Neither does it determine why the Government’s targets on housing development aren’t being met despite not even being high enough to begin with.
”It’s pretty telling that there wasn’t one single representative of Government in attendance this morning to hear the hard facts that were presented by the representative of each organisation.
“It’s no surprise then either that it is a sheer lack of political will that’s preventing both the establishment of our proposed Affordable Housing Scheme to utilise State owned lands for the development of housing, and achieving any progress on the Affordable Rent Scheme that was announced in 2015.
“Our Local Authorities have an obligation and responsibility to harness the potential of State owned vacant land. We cannot accept the unwillingness to develop these sites.
He concluded, “There is no doubt in my mind that this Government can prevent the situation becoming any more acute by having the will to help and support people before they reach homelessness and become just another figure on the growing lists.”
Local TD, Darragh O’Brien has said that unless staff vacancies in Fingal’s Physiotherapy Department are filled, the number of people in need of treatment will only continue to grow.
The Deputy received confirmation from the Health Service Executive this month that there are two vacancies in the Dublin North Physiotherapy Team and recruitment has been unsuccessful.
O’Brien commented, “The importance of community based physiotherapy services cannot be overestimated, particularly for those in rehabilitation following an accident or trauma.
“Many patients leave hospital following major surgery, hip replacement or having had a Stroke on the presumption that they will receive physiotherapy either at home or locally.
“Despite the current low level of staffing and the two vacant positions, no additional support whatsoever has been provided to the manager of the physio department in Fingal.
“The poor provision of services at the moment and the growing waiting list of people in need of essential therapy in our area cannot be let continue.
“I will be urging the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to do whatever it takes to fill these vacancies so that patients recovering in Fingal can be assured that waiting times will shorten.
He concluded, “It is so important that we have physiotherapist on hand in our community to provide therapy to all those that need it in a more reasonable time frame so that their condition isn’t left to deteriorate any further.”
Decision to not progress with piloted Shared Apprenticeship Scheme in construction sector is premature
New info reveals pilot project for enabling builders to share apprenticeships
has been abandoned with no replacement to date
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has criticised the Government’s failure to replace a Shared Apprenticeship Scheme model in Ireland.
The Deputy received details this month which indicates that the successfully piloted Shared Apprenticeship Scheme carried out between SOLAS, in partnership with Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and the Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) in 2017 will not be adopted.
Despite the known success of this model in boosting apprenticeship numbers in Britain, the pilot initiative to test the viability of the same scheme here in Ireland will not be extended.
It is now understood that while discussions with the construction industry are on-going, no replacement has been put in place.
Deputy O’Brien said, “Getting to grips with the ongoing housing crisis in this country urgently demands more skilled workers to ramp up the construction of units and put bricks and mortar in the ground.
“The Construction Industry Federation has predicted that 3,840 construction related apprentices will be required by 2020. In the region of 2,500 apprenticeships were registered in 2017 during the pilot initiative but now that’s gone to the wall and we have no plan in place to boost the intake.
“Young people need to be given a clearer avenue and more opportunity to take up work in the construction sector so that we are better able secure the scale of workforce required to build affordable homes across Ireland.
Shared Apprenticeships Schemes are mutually beneficial when appropriately managed and have the potential to encourage young perspective construction workers, reduce costs for the builders that take them on and support smaller companies expand.
“This decision to abandon the pilot project is incredibly premature given we need to attract and retain apprenticeships for both employers and employees alike.
Ireland’s ability to attract skill sets in construction is already limited and now we’ve restricted it even more during a time we should be nurturing those interested in pursuing construction work.
He concluded, “I am calling on the Minister for Skills, John Halligan TD to accelerate discussions between SOLAS and the construction industry and also reconsider the shared mechanism designed to boost the number of apprentices,” Deputy O’Brien concluded.
FF proposal to use State & Local Authority owned lands to
kick-start development of affordable homes scuppered
Local TD and Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien has said that Fine Gael-Sinn Féin political game playing has utterly failed the working families who are struggling to buy their own home in the midst of Ireland’s housing crisis.
The Deputy was commenting yesterday following Fianna Fáil’ Private Members Business motion which was defeated after Sinn Féin and Fine Gael joined forces to vote against it.
O’Brien said, “The last Affordable Housing Scheme was abolished by the Fine Gael-Labour Government in 2011, and now this worthwhile proposal to increase the supply of homes has been blocked by a new Fine Gael-Sinn Féin alliance.
“This Government has categorically failed to deliver a single affordable home and Sinn Féin seems pretty content to support that inaction to continue.
“Countless young people and families across Fingal struggling to purchase their own home but neither Fine Gael or Sinn Féin are willing to make an tangible effort to improve this dyer situation.
“Sinn Féin is not remotely interested in pushing Fine Gael to follow through on its commitment to expedite the delivery of affordable homes. It was a complete contradiction to vote against the Fianna Fáil proposal and by teaming up to block it in Dáil Éireann both these parties have exposed their attitude towards working people wishing to purchase their own house.
“Playing party politics with the lives of young people and families in the North County,” he concluded.
One in every two rental properties in the Capital are now only
available to tourists according to Daft.ie
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD says unless progress is made in regulating Airbnb and other short term lettings platforms, the rental market in the Capital will be further saturated.
New research published this morning by Daft.ie reveals that over half of all properties available to rent in Dublin are currently listed as short-term letting for tourists.
The party has previously introduced detailed legislation aimed at regulating Airbnb and other short term letting platforms, in Dáil Éireann.
“Over the course of 2016, 1,103 homes in Dublin were booked via Airbnb for more than 80 nights consecutively. It has now emerged that over 50% of homes to rent in the city are listed as tourist lets and are therefore not available for long-term letting, “said Deputy O’Brien.
“These latest figures illustrate the need for Government to progress with the regulation of Airbnb and other short term lettings platform before the rental market becomes even more saturated.
“Fianna Fáil’s bill introduced on the floor of Dáil Éireann reflects the findings of the Oireachtas Housing Committee’s report published last year and which urged the introduction of a 90 Day limit for short term letting.
“Such a measure would ensure that these homes would instead either receive full planning permission to allow for letting beyond 90 days or are brought back into the rental market.
“Our proposed regulations will not affect the average Airbnb host but will rightfully restrict professional listers in Dublin who are earning upwards of €5,000 a booking and subsequently placing massive pressure on the need for long-term rental accommodation.
“Major international cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and San Francisco have initiated regulations on Airbnb and given the scale of our rental crisis we too need to take appropriate action.
He concluded, “The introduction of comprehensive regulations similar to the ones we have previously proposed will put an end to this dubious practice, enable ordinary home owners to lease their apartment on occasion and prevent any further loss of unit from the longer term rental market.”
FF motion calls for use of State & Local Authority owned lands
to kick-start development of affordable homes
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that this Government must take real action on establishing a new State-led Affordable Housing Scheme to support those struggling to own their own home.
The Deputy was commenting in advance of Fianna Fáil’s Private Members Business motion due to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow evening.
He said, “The Affordable Housing Scheme which was stood down by the Fine Gael-Labour Government in 2011 had aimed to proactively build units for sale or rent.
“Unfortunately, since then this Government has categorically failed to deliver a single affordable home. In fact, house prices have soared by 90% over the past seven years.
“We need to give those working and paying taxes the opportunity to own their own home but as house prices rise beyond all reasonable affordability, the Government needs to make immediate moves to follow through on its commitment to expedite the delivery of affordable homes.
“An Affordable Housing Scheme should be used to kickstart development housing units in areas where supply is weakest and where prices are highest. This must involve an initial capital investment by the State and re-investing the proceeds of sales into further homes.
“Working families are priced out of the market and face house price over 6 times the average household income. Is it any wonder that the prospect of never owning a home is all too real?
“I am deeply concerned that will only continue to be the case for more and more people unless we see a substantive change to policy and the introduction of a scheme for affordable homes.
O’Brien concluded, “Our motion tomorrow evening seeks to place pressure on this Government to recognise and the address growing affordability crisis nationwide.”