Mayor defends party’s record on housing

by Mark O'Brien
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South Dublin Mayor Mark Ward defended his party's record on housing

The Mayor of South Dublin has defended his party’s record on housing, following accusations that they have failed to properly deal with the housing crisis.

Sinn Fein councillor Mark Ward was elected as the new Mayor of South Dublin last month.
People Before Profit had put forward Cllr Madeleine Johansson as a nominee for the position, saying no other group had committed to the preventing the selling off of public land.

Following Cllr Ward’s election, Cllr Johansson and Cllr Emma Hendrick released a statement saying the Progressive Alliance claimed that Sinn Fein had failed to address the housing crisis.

The statement said: “Unfortunately there seems to be no difference in terms of actions if there is a centre-left Progressive Alliance Mayor or a right wing Fine Gael/Fianna Fail Mayor.
“We have been proactively looking for a new approach and a commitment to stop the selling off of public land.

“We would have voted for any progressive nominee willing to make such a commitment.”

But Mayor Ward defended his party’s record on housing, saying the government had “failed dramatically” on the issue.

“In fact, in the recent Clonburris meeting the Sinn Fein motion that was passed will see up 2700 social and affordable houses included in the plan, despite opposition from Fine Gael and a host of Independents,” he said.

“There were 128 motions submitted in the final Clonburris meeting and Sinn Fein submitted 18 of these in relation to housing, better transport and amenities. It’s a matter of public record.”

Cllr Ward was critical of People Before Profit’s contribution to the Clonburris debates.

“Out of the 128 motions submitted, People Before Profit’s contribution was zero.

“If you add in her (Cllr Johansson) colleagues in Solidarity, the total of motions the combined groups submitted is still zero.

“This is scandalous by a group that states we are doing nothing to address the housing crisis.

“I stand by our record on the council in maximising the amount of builds, given the restraints laid out by central Government.”

He pointed out that People Before Profit had abstained on a vote for 63 public houses to be built on public land in St Cuthbert’s Park.

“I suggest that people in glass houses stop throwing stones and that if People Before Profit/Solidarity are serious about social housing that they do what we do and submit pragmatic, well researched motions to this council.”

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