Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal, Darragh O’Brien has sought assurances from the Minister for Education that the refurbishment and extension of St. Finian’s Community College in Swords, Co. Dublin will get underway as a matter of priority.
Deputy O’Brien questioned the Minister for Education and asked him to provide an urgent update on the works.
He explained, “This is something which the Government have been dragging their feet on for years. There have been indeterminable delays and unexplained hold-ups, but little or no action. The parents, teachers and students have all been let down very badly.
“I can’t stress enough the need to get the refurbishment and extension works underway. From speaking with parents, teachers and even students I know there are major issues, from a leaking roof to a lack of space and much more besides. As a DEIS school in the ever-expanding town of Swords, the school should be afforded extra resources.
“Despite the Minister's comments to the contrary, we know there are issues with the Department’s budget. The Minister needs to clarify whether construction and upgrading works on schools will be put on hold or not progressed while the Department sorts out its finances.
“I will continue to raise this matter with him until I get an answer and a guarantee that the refurbishment and extension works will be completed”, concluded Deputy O’Brien.
-Bill will mitigate against cuckoo funds snapping up properties rather than building them-
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing and TD for Dublin-Fingal, Darragh O’Brien, has published a Bill which would empower local authorities to earmark residential land for the purpose of sale to first time buyers.
Deputy O’Brien said it was important to level the playing field for first time buyers and keep the dream of home ownership alive – something which has become further away for most people under the current Fine Gael Government with home ownership rates slipping to a 50 year low of 67%.
He explained, “The influx of Cuckoo Funds snapping up entire housing estates and apartment complexes continues to contribute to an unprecedented degree of competition for first time buyers.
“Their impact is also running the risk that entire neighbourhoods will become rental only. We’ve already seen this in Donabate, Balbriggan and Chivers in Coolock where entire developments are being built to rent only. While it is important that we increase our rental offering, this is damaging the fabric of our communities and driving out home owners and low-income renters.
“With this Bill we are seeking to prevent the bulk buying of entire developments by investment funds by ensuring that up to 30% of zoned land will be earmarked for first-time buyers. For example, a development of ten units would have up to three units available for first time buyers to purchase.
“The goal of the bill is to prevent the bulk buying of entire developments by investment funds thereby freezing out first time buyers. It contains exemptions to allow Build to Rent developments that would otherwise not be built to go ahead as part of an overall housing strategy while preventing developments already in place being snapped up by investors at the last moment. This way investment in new builds will be allowed but they must be earmarked for rental only as part of an overall housing plan in appropriate areas.
“This Bill is one of a number of measures which Fianna Fáil have proposed to tackle the ever-growing housing crisis. Our affordable housing strategy marked a fundamental change in the direction of housing policy. Our proposals will increase the volume of social housing, but also increase the stock of affordable housing for those who are trying to buy their own home.
“I want to find real solutions to the housing crisis we’re in now. I will be introducing this Bill in the coming weeks in Dáil Éireann and I will be engaging with stakeholders during this process to make sure the Bill does not have an adverse effect on housing supply”, he concluded.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, has said it is deeply frustrating that the Government is failing to make any significant impact on the numbers of adults and children in emergency accommodation.
Deputy O’Brien was commenting as the Department of Housing released the homelessness figures for June which indicated that there are almost 6,500 adults and 3,675 children in emergency accommodation.
He said, “The numbers in emergency accommodation are above 10,000 for the fifth month in a row which is a disgraceful situation. There has been a slight drop in numbers thankfully, with eight fewer adults and 74 fewer children from last month but that decrease needs to be far greater.
“The Government needs to ask itself how it can possibly meet the demand for housing when the scale of development in affordable and public housing that’s required is simply not happening?
“The answer is not box room type living. It is quality, affordable homes where children can feel safe and secure. It’s important to remember at all times that the 3,675 children who are in emergency accommodation are being failed badly and that this will have far reaching consequences on their young lives.
“Many of these children will be beginning a new school year as they ended the last one, hopping from hotel to hotel, with no privacy, no place to do homework and no place to call home”, he concluded.