23 February 2006 Edition

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Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2006 HOUSING

Sinn Féin Bookshop was kept busy by enthusiastic republicans for the three day of the Ard Fheis

Sinn Féin Bookshop was kept busy by enthusiastic republicans for the three day of the Ard Fheis

Housing crisis highlighted

The bulk of motions on housing castigated both British and Irish Governments on their abysmal record in providing social housing and called for an All-Ireland housing strategy.

Dáil spokesperson on the issue Arthur Morgan pointed to the scandal of 43,600 people in the 26 Counties in need of housing, "the majority of whom were living in overcrowded conditions. There are grown up sons or daughters who married and are living in the front room of their parents houses."

Morgan said many of those in housing need were from low-income families, and included many Travellers, "however these problems are compounded by the government's cap of €100 per month on rent supplement, "where would you rent a place for €100 a month?", he asked.

He criticised the government's attitude to landlords who pocketed €400 million per year in tax breaks while property-based tax exemptions meant that €3 billion euro were lost to the exchequer.

The situation in the North was no better according to Six-County Housing spokesperson Fra McCann MLA. "We are in a serious housing crisis across this island," he declared. "In the North the building of social housing has ground to a halt, year on year housing lists get longer and any semblance of a government strategy is non existent."

He said that: "98.5% of all housing is in the private sector and out of reach, financially for the majority of people. We are now seeing figures showing that there is an increase of 27% on mortgage repossessions."

McCann called on the party to do what it does best and "get back on to the streets and campaign on this issue. It is too important for too many people."

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