THE case of a woman in her 80s who presented at the constituency office of Fianna Fáil Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony recently, was outlined to the Dáil. The woman had nowhere to go and was homeless.
At short notice, Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said the only facility available to her was a local nursing home.
‘Obviously, this accommodation is temporary, but it is still not acceptable,’ she said. ‘It is not acceptable to take up a bed in a nursing home that is needed by many others, nor is it acceptable that an 80-year-old woman should face this indignity.’
With four housing ministers in the past four years, there is little surprise that progress has not been made, she said.
Speaking during a debate on housing, she said there is a need to focus on getting results and forget about spin and rhetoric, both of which the Government is very good at. ‘Clearly, the provision of 800 social houses falls well short of the action plan target which projects 5,000,’ she said. ‘The capital house building project is still 51% below 2008 levels.
‘As is the case in many rural areas, young couples in South West Cork aspire to building their own family home,’ she said. ‘Clearly, there are huge costs associated with this.
‘The position is compounded, however, by exorbitant levies and fees imposed by local councils.
‘This places the idea of owning one’s own home out of reach for many people. Private house building needs to be accessible to anybody who wishes to settle down in his or her own local area. Some progress has been made in Budget 2018, but a lot more work is needed if this matter is to be addressed in any reasonable manner.’
Speaking during the same debate, North West Deputy Aindrias Moynihan said rent pressure zones need to be reviewed and enforced.
‘When they were introduced, we pointed out that electoral areas were too big and too blunt a way of doing this,’ he said. ‘It means that at Classes Lake in Ovens, an estate of over 400 homes, half of the homes are in the Ballincollig rent pressure zone while the other 200 homes are outside. Common sense needs to prevail.
‘There should be flexibility and the entire estate should be within the rent pressure zone. The Government also needs to ensure that the rent pressure zones are being enforced. The standard of rental properties must also be addressed and Fianna Fáil is bringing forward a vacant housing Bill to address the matter.’
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