[Sinn Fein]

12th May 2003

Tackling Homelessness- Another Broken Promise

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Social Affairs, Seán Crowe, has described the Government's strategy to tackle homelessness as nothing more than `another broken promise'.

Speaking at the launch of the Dublin Simon Community's Annual Report the Dublin South-West TD said:''It is three years since the Government launched its national homelessness strategy. It is one year since they were returned to power with a Programme for Government which included two commitments on Homelessness.

``We will ensure that the comprehensive Homelessness Strategies now in place are implemented. We will ensure that homelessness, and rough sleeping in particular, is tackled in a coordinated manner in all parts of the country.

``As Simon pointed out today, the Government has simple not lived up to its pledge to provide three year multi-annual funding for projects and their commitment on homelessness merely amount to another broken promise.''

Sinn Fein believes that proper accommodation is a basic inalienable right and in the coming months we are planning to introduce legislation to Leinster House to bring forward a referendum that will enshrine the Right to Housing in the Constitution. We need increased and sustained funding of local authorities to provide housing with a target of supplying suitable accommodation within the lifetime of this Government for 70% of applicants on the waiting lists.

``The money is available for this. Sinn Fein proposed in our election manifesto an increase in Capital Gains Tax on speculative owners of multiple dwellings and a series of legislative proposals to tackle the homelessness problem.

``The figures released by the Government today, indicating vast swathes of Ireland without any kind of homeless problem bears no reality to what is seen on the ground by groups like the Simon Community. Dublin Simon's Annual Report reveals that the number of new people in contact with Street Outreach Services in the first three months of 2003, already exceeds the number for the first six months of 2002.

``The problem is getting worse, but the solution is clear, all that is required is the political will to do what is necessary. It is time for the Government to take seriously the problem of homelessness in Irish society.''

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