Government response to council call for housing emergency branded ‘pathetic’

by Mark O'Brien
Cllr Madeleine Johansson said the response by the Department of Housing to the council’s call to declare a housing emergency was “pathetic”.

The response by the Department of Housing to the council’s call on the Government to declare a housing emergency has been branded “pathetic”.

The response was sent following a motion passed at South Dublin County Council in December calling on the Minister Eoghan Murphy to immediately declare a housing emergency and provide additional resources over the Christmas period.

Cllr Madeleine Johansson (PBP) criticised the delay and said the response “makes a mockery out of local politics and is insulting to local councillors”.

She said: “Not only was a reply only received following a second letter from the council with a delay of almost two months, but the reply is absolutely pathetic.

“The letter from the Department simply re-states their current Rebuilding Ireland programme, with no response to the call for a housing emergency to be declared, nor any reason why the Government refuses to do so.

“The motion also called for additional resources for homeless services over Christmas, however no comment was made in regards to this in the response.”

The response sent on behalf of Minister Murphy makes reference to the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan.

The letter states: “A whole Government approach is being taken to dealing with the issues associated with homelessness etc., and accordingly the implementation of Rebuilding Ireland is being advanced across a number of departments and agencies.”

The letter adds that 47,000 social houses will be provided across the country during the lifetime of the plan.

Separately, the council this week unanimously passed a motion calling for an independent agency for council tenants to deal with grievances they may have.

The motion was brought before the full council meeting by Cllr Emma Hendrick.

“At present, council tenants have nowhere to go to complain about their living conditions,” she said.

“Tenants of private landlords can make a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board. This is an independent organisation that settles disputes between landlords and tenants.

“Council tenants do not have an equivalent mechanism for settling grievances so the current set-up is discriminatory against those paying rent to the council.

“There should be an independent agency so that the council may be held accountable and their tenants afforded protections.”

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