Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin-Fingal and spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien raised the issue of extortionate insurance premium hikes with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week.
Deputy O’Brien says childcare places in for both pre-school and after-school are under serious threat due across the country due to spiralling insurance premium hikes and has committed to meeting with Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on the matter.
Deputy O’Brien gave an example of a creche in Swords which saw their insurance premium rise from €729 last year to €3,710 this year, with many other childcare facilities facing similar premiums.
“Not only is this an insurance crisis but also a child care provision crisis. If nothing is done, we will lose hundreds of places in North Dublin and potentially thousands across the country. This is a massive issue for families and childcare providers across the country and immediate action needs to be taken by Minister Zappone and by Government.
“My party leader Micheál Martin has also raised this serious issue in the Dáil with the Taoiseach. I have also written directly to the Minister and have tabled a specific parliamentary question directly to her.
“I asked the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs was she aware of the massive increases in insurance premiums quoted to childcare providers, that these increases could put many said providers out of business resulting in the loss of thousands of preschool and after-school places, what action she and her Department are taking to avert this crisis and if she will make a statement on the matter.”
“We need to be supporting young families and reassure them that more childcare places will be made available, but we need to tackle the escalating insurance premium hikes,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin-Fingal and Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien says additional secondary school places are urgently needed in North Dublin.
Deputy O’Brien said, “Dublin-Fingal is the fastest growing and youngest constituency in the country and a great deal of work has been done by successive governments to provide additional places at primary school level, parents and students are now facing serious problems with securing secondary school places for pupils.
“For the first time in years, Malahide Community School has a waiting list of students in its catchment area that it can’t offer places to. It’s the same story at Portmarnock Community School, Skerries Community College and St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Rush. Families in Swords have also been in contact with me raising concerns.
“I raised this issue directly with Minister McHugh in the Dáil, and I outlined the specific problem we are experiencing with a lack of school places and asked him to carry out a targeted review for the Dublin Fingal area and come up with a plan to deal with the lack of availability of secondary school places. The Minister has agreed to this request and I will be following up with him.
“The situation has reached crisis point in north Dublin. The delivery of the promised new schools needs to be expedited.
“I have spent the past couple of weeks speaking to parents and they are very worried that their kids won’t get a school place next year. The Minister needs to intervene and find a solution to this problem – if the government had planned properly for the demographic needs of our area we wouldn’t be in this situation”, concluded Deputy O’Brien
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has welcomed news of significant funding for Skerries which has been approved today.
The €400,000 investment will see the development of a cultural and heritage walking trail through Skerries town which will hope to increase visitor numbers to the town.
The main aim of the project is to increase tourism in the area and use well known heritage spots close to the town.
Deputy O’Brien said: “The approval of a €400,000 grant as part of funding for destinations towns which has been approved this morning is welcome news for the town of Skerries and surrounding areas.
“Increased visitors to the area will have an overall positive impact of local business and trade so this is much welcomed news for everyone in the locality.
“The funding will be used to boost tourist numbers in the region and will see special attention paid to the telling of the Martello Towers’ story and their significance to the coastline. The heritage walks when completed will be a welcome addition to the area and hopefully will lead to greater levels of tourists visiting the region,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.
PQs reveal average monthly cost of HAP State subsidised rent at €829 p/m while the national cost of new state-built home is €213,000
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has revealed that average Housing Assistance Payment rent levels will be costlier than building a new home after 21 years.
PQ data compiled by Deputy O’Brien looked at the average monthly rent across all four major current expenditure housing programmes and compared it to the cost of the state directly building homes.
It shows the state will spend over €844m on rent support in 2019 with average rents reaching from €829 per month under HAP to €521 per month under Rent Supplement. The average cost of building a new two-bedroom home nationally is €213,000.
It would take just 21 years of HAP payments to landlords to reach the cost of a direct new build home. Every year after that is more expensive to rent than to build.
Deputy O’Brien said: “Fine Gael have led an overreliance on the private sector, funnelling billions into landlords rather than building. The cost of this is evident in these figures.
“Paying for rent is not cheaper and in just over two decades it will cost more to rent than it would have to build a new unit that actually adds to the housing stock and is in state ownership. The short-term approach of Fine Gael will catch up on the state. We will be locked into expensive rental payments for decades rather than building up our national housing stock.
“We need to get Local Authorities back into direct build and shift away from pouring billions into the private sector. The Minister should take the shackles off Local Authorities and put bricks and mortar into the ground not billions into landlords’ pockets” Deputy O’Brien concluded.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien has criticised the government following news that the number of homeless in the State has reached the highest ever level.
The number of homeless people in the State according to the latest official figures show 10,514 people are currently living in emergency accommodation, which is the highest level ever.
Deputy O’Brien said: "This is a shocking indictment of the government, they continue to fail in one of the most basic needs for our people, a safe and secure home. Rebuilding Ireland has failed, what we need to see is this crisis being met by crisis measures and currently it’s not.
“The number of children living in emergency accommodation remains at an unacceptable level. The number of adults recorded as homeless also increased.
The figures today show an increase of 117 people last month compared to statistics from September, an average increase of around two people every day.
Some 3,826 children are now living without a home in Ireland, according to the Department of Housing homeless statistics for September.
“Fianna Fáil would prioritise solving this housing crisis by building public homes on public land and delivering affordable housing for working people.”
“There were 4534 adults homeless in Dublin currently and there are now 154 people living in emergency accommodation who are 65 years of age or older, the figures show,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.