[Sinn Fein]

20ú Samhain 2001

`Government have failed on Housing' - Crowe

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Housing and South Dublin County Councillor Séan Crowe has slammed the government's failure to deal with the housing crisis. Councillor Crowe was speaking following the launch of Threshold's Annual report. The report highlighted that the number of households on local authority waiting lists has increased by 30% since 1999 from 39,000 to 55,000. Cllr. Crowe said:

``This Fianna Fáil/ Progressive Democrat government has clearly failed the electorate on the housing issue. The waiting lists represent around 125,000 people who are living in sub-standard accommodation and simply cannot afford a decent place to live. These waiting lists have increased by 30% since 1999 while the number of houses built by local authorities fell by 25% in the same period. The government must accept responsibility for this.

``First-time home buyers are still being forced out of the house purchase market. Despite the reports of a slow down in house price increases the fact is that prices have soared by 150% since 1996. Ordinary workers are simply unable to compete in these circumstances. According to the Threshold report rent prices are also increasing out of control closing this option for many.

``Housing is a basic right. There is a need for a national housing strategy with a co-ordinating body that would maximise the efforts of local authorities throughout the island, by focusing funding and expertise where housing need is greatest.

``The government have had four and a half years to get this right. They have failed miserably. Real action must begin now.''

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