[Sinn Fein]

18th March 2003

Government's social housing policy ``dictated by greedy developers and right-wing ideologues''

Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan TD has described reports that the Tánaiste Mary Harney led a successful charge by a number of Government ministers to have the social housing provisions of the 2000 Planning and Development Act axed last year as clear evidence that the Governments social policy is being ``dictated by greedy developers, big business and right-wing ideologues''. ``In Mary Harney's Ireland the profits of the business classes come before the needs of the people'', he said.

Deputy Morgan said:

``Revelations that Mary Harney led the charge of a number of ministers to have the social provisions of the 2000 Planning and Development Act axed show clearly that the Governments social policies are being dictated by greedy developers, big business and right-wing ideologues.

``The disproportionate influence of developers and big business through their Government placed agents like Mary Harney are unhealthy for democracy and leave the ordinary citizen at a severe disadvantage.

``With housing waiting lists and homelessness numbers at an all time high it is worth noting that there are no ministers writing to Minister Cullen about this issue. Even more damning is the fact that the Government wont fulfil their pre-election promise made by Fianna Fáil to set time limits and targets for tackling homelessness and housing waiting lists.

``Once again, we have a Government for the wealthy, for tax exiles and other vested interests. We don't have a Government for the people.

``It comes as no surprise that the PDs two largest donors last year were Ryanair's Michael O'Leary who uses his wealth to buy a taxi plate for his chauffeur to beat the traffic ordinary people have to put up with and Treasury Holdings, one of Ireland's largest and most profitable property development companies.

``I am calling on all Ministers to come clean on what representations were made to them and by which companies in the run up to the gutting of the Planning and Development Act 2000 so that the electorate can see who is formulating Government policies.'' ENDS

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