O’Sullivan calls on Minister Murphy to drive opening of empty Council homes

29 May 2019

Labour Party housing spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan TD,  has again called on the Government to admit the failure of their Rebuilding Ireland Plan as the number of people in homeless services rises again this month after exceeding 10.000 in March.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“The numbers are truly shocking and denying over 10,000 people, including close to 4,000 children, the most basic need of a home of their own.

“Pillar 5 of Rebuilding Ireland promises to use vacant homes and was described as the “quick win” and “low-hanging fruit”.  Yet, there are thousands of empty Council houses all around the Country that are sitting for months with no-one in them while families are forced to live in hotels.

“Anyone knocking on doors in the recent elections will have seen it, especially in our cities.  It was striking to me in parts of Limerick City that perfectly good houses that need some work but not a lot, are boarded up for months in areas where homeless families would gladly live.

“A report from the National Oversight and Audit Committee last October identified 3,600 Council-owned homes empty. There is no evidence to suggest that the situation is any better now.

“It is not good enough for the Minister and the Department of Housing to wring his hands and say that it is a matter for Local Authorities. This has to be driven from the top.

“It must be heart-breaking for a parent trying to look after their children in homeless accommodation to walk past empty houses month after month and see nothing happening.

“I am calling on Minister Murphy to make the “swift turnaround” of vacant Council homes, promised in Rebuilding Ireland, a reality.”

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