[Sinn Fein]

9th October 2002

Fianna Fáil Election Promises

`A Lot Broken - More to Break'

``We will commit to a further expansion of the various social housing programmes so that we reach a target of meeting the housing needs of 15,000 households per annum.'' Fianna Fáil Election Manifesto. Page 70.

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Social Affairs, Seán Crowe TD has questioned the decision of the government to look at bringing to an end a social housing scheme which requires developers to set aside 20% of their land for affordable housing:

The Dublin South West TD said: ``This highlights once again the favourable attitude of this government to developers and the construction industry over the needs of ordinary people.

``This government is caving in again to developers and its friends in the construction industry by putting the social housing scheme under review. It is clear to everyone that we are in the middle of a housing crisis. Threshold, the housing organization, estimates 55,000 households, including large numbers of young families, are on local authority waiting lists having been priced out of the housing market. Average house prices rose by 90 per cent during the lifetime of the last administration.

``Rather than cut this scheme, it must be forcefully implemented. The 20% target is not yet being met and the government has failed in its duty to enforce it. Sinn Fein has called for the establishment of a Housing Commissioner's Office in order to monitor and enforce the implementation of this legislation.

``The most strenuous objections to this scheme have come from builders and developers more concerned with getting the last penny out of their land than with catering to the needs of people on the waiting lists.

``The realisation of the scale of corruption uncovered in local government planning shows how vested interests were able to control the supply of private housing. In Dublin, developers were allowed to drip-feed houses onto the market, driving up prices and reaping huge profits.

``To make good on the social housing programme commitment for 2002 the government needs to increase output to 6,100 units. To restrict the amount of social housing available strikes at the most vulnerable in our society and worsens inequality and housing disadvantage across the State.''

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