AAA’s perpetual protest won’t house families – Byrne

19 January 2016

It is disappointing, but hardly surprising, that Ruth Coppinger and her hard left colleagues continue to play political football with the issue of housing and homelessness.

The one consistent thing about Ruth Coppinger, the AAA, and People Before Profit is that, unlike the Labour Party, they prefer perpetual protest to actually delivering homes and solutions for families and communities.

It was incredible to hear her, in effect, defending the record of previous Fianna Fail governments who ended social housing programmes and left the current government to clear up the mess they made of the housing and construction sectors.

It’s clear that the long-term solution to homelessness is to increase the supply of homes. Minister Alan Kelly and Labour in government secured the largest ever state investment in social housing of €3.8 billion up to 2020. This investment of billions of euro in housing will allow for the construction of 35,000 new social housing units and the utilisation of up to 75,000 private sector units to meet housing needs.

We have also ensured a return to direct house-building by local authorities. Labour in government has ensured around 2,500 boarded-up local authority houses were returned to use as family homes in 2015 alone. Significant progress has also been made in providing solutions for homeless families including 1,645 families who had found independent tenancies by September 2015.

Cathal Morgan, Chief Executive of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, this morning urged people to support the modular housing programme as an important short-term response for families who are currently homeless. Yet, the AAA has slammed the modular housing programme.

Their hypocrisy on housing knows no bounds. Various AAA representatives have opposed social housing developments at local level. In Dublin City Council, Labour councillors were proposing a package on the property tax that included a funding provision of €5.6m for homeless services. These proposals were rejected, including by Sinn Fein and the various hard-left councillors.

But Ruth Coppinger is never likely to let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to bash her political opponents.

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