Primetime programme on overcrowding shocking but not surprising
- Minister needs to immediately implement his own overcrowding bill that he introduced while in opposition
Labour Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan has described the RTÉ Investigates Primetime programme that revealed 11 people living in a flat during the pandemic as shocking but unsurprising.
Senator Moynihan said:
“What was revealed in this Primetime programme about overcrowding and people paying up to €200 to sleep on the floor of an apartment is shocking but unfortunately not surprising.
“I have raised the issue of people hot-bedding during the pandemic on the floor of the Seanad a number of times and how that was contributing to the growth of Covid in some of in industries such as the meat industry and other congregated settings where low paid often migrant workers are risking their health just to have a bed.
“When Fianna Fáil were in opposition, their then Housing Spokesperson Barry Cowen introduced the Overcrowded Housing Bill: 2018 setting out updated minimum space requirements for tenants by providing new regulations and setting out penalties for breaches. It is clear from what we saw this evening and in previous programmes that while fire safety legislation can be used to tackle issues such as overcrowding, it does not cover everything or encompass quality of life standards.
“This Bill is currently and Third Stage and the startling revelations in this Primetime programme show why it urgently needs to be implicated. Clearly the penalties as they stand are insufficient and the Minister needs to also fund and allocate additional inspectors to local authorities in order to be able to carry this out and he needs to act with urgency to prosecute unscrupulous landlords.
“It is a public health crisis at this stage and poor quality, dangerously overcrowded accommodation in conjunction with bad housing and rental policies are making the public health situation worse.
“Sub-standard accommodation is regularly advertised across Dublin despite the public health crisis. This dangerous practice is unacceptable and it’s clear strong new enforcement measures are needed to address the problem.