Taoiseach’s refusal to tackle rent allowance further evidence of FG arrogance – says city-based John Connolly

Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for city-based candidate Galway West John Connolly has hit out at the Taoiseach’s refusal to consider increasing rent allowance for families at risk at homelessness.

When quizzed by Micheál Martin and media commentators about homelessness last week, the Taoiseach again refused to consider increasing rent supplement for at-risk families, leading Mr Connolly to state that the Government has completely failed to take charge of the homelessness issue, and because of a lack of concrete measures, this problem has now turned into a national emergency.

“The problem spans across a number of sectors – home ownership, rental, social housing and emergency accommodation. The fact of the matter is that there is a serious lack of supply, as a direct result of Fine Gael’s lack of investment in the area.“Fianna Fáil built 14,581 social housing units between 2007 and 2010.

“In contrast Fine Gael and Labour constructed just 1,252 units over the past five years. The abandonment of the social housing programme has led to a dramatic shortage of supply, which in turn is forcing up rents in the private sector. This Government has spent the past year scrambling to come up with a plan, but their reheated ideas are simply not delivering.“We have a credible, multi-faceted approach to address this crisis. We will build 45,000 social houses by substantially increasing exchequer funding and ring-fencing it specifically for this use,” he added.

The Galway West Mayo South candidate said that Fianna Fail will also introduce a help-to-buy scheme for new home owners.

“The Taoiseach’s refusal to increase rent supplement makes no sense. In fact, the decision to maintain the existing thresholds is perpetuating the mindless situation whereby families are being placed in emergency hotel accommodation at an enormous cost to the State, rather than allowing them a marginal increase in rent support.

“Fianna Fáil would increase the rent supplement to help these families stay in their homes.“This Government’s record on housing and homelessness is appalling, and the fact that the Taoiseach is still refusing to implement measures which would ease the crisis speaks volumes about where his priorities are. Fianna Fáil wants to see all sections of society looked after – not just the wealthiest,” he concluded.

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