The leader of the Fianna Fail Group on Dublin City Council, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, has called for radical action by Government to tackle the spiralling housing crisis in Dublin.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said today’s report from the Government’s advisory body, the Housing Agency, starkly outlined the huge deficit in housing stocks that has been allowed to develop. It concluded that almost 80,000 residential housing units are needed by 2018 and of that Dublin will need 37,581, or 47%.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said a vicious combination of harsh social welfare cuts, no new houses and escalating rents in Dublin has driven more and more onto social housing waiting lists and forced more people into living homeless on the streets of the city.
She said there are now almost 32,000 households on the Dublin local authority housing list, some 16,000 of these are in Dublin city where, in addition, over 1,600 applicants are in temporary emergency accommodation. There are now up to 140 people sleeping rough on the streets each night in Dublin.
“The statistics may capture the extent of the worsening housing and homelessness crisis but they mask the human tragedy, desperation and distress that lie behind them” said Cllr Fitzpatrick, the Fianna Fail candidate in the European election. “The reality is that this crisis is spiralling out of control and the Government has failed to provide any meaningful capital plan to address it beyond re-heated old announcements”.
Cllr Fitzpatrick was particularly critical of Housing and Planning Minister Jan O’Sullivan T.D. for turning down a request from the members of the City Council Central Area Committee to meet with them and outline her plan to address the worsening housing crisis.
“After unemployment, housing is the second biggest critical issue in Dublin. There has been no worthwhile additional housing, private or social, for several years. What is needed is a radical approach that addresses the challenge in a meaningful way so that the thousands on growing waiting lists are given some hope for the future. That leadership must come from Minister O’Sullivan but her response to date has been totally inadequate.”