Sinn Féin Cllr Paul Donnelly has condemned Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s dismissals of criticism of her Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014, stating that the Bill contained measures to turn social housing on its head and do untold damage to the campaign to provide housing.



Cllr Donnelly said


“The new scheme of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in this Bill is an attack on social housing which will have far reaching consequences. Tenants under HAP will be deemed to no longer have a housing need and they will be able to access employment without losing their payment unlike the current rent Allowance scheme. This might on the face of it sound okay but it is a very dangerous policy.


“It will mean that they will be confined to a system like Rent Supplement where their private rents are subsidised.They will have no security of tenure and will be at risk of having to move around many times and they will be at the mercy of the private housing sector.


“ The HAP will remove any impetus on the government to deliver real social housing and those in HAP will not be able to move on. Without new social housing developments, rents will continue to be beyond the means of many and there will be no desire by governments to tackle the problem.


Rent Supplement already costs the state €344 million a year. HAP will in the long run also have a very high cost. This is bad value for money and it will have a very negative effect on the private rental market, further artificially inflating rents due to scarcity of places available.


“We, in Fingal, need funding from central government to build social housing as outlined in Sinn Féin’s stimulus plan which provides for 6735 new and refurbished homes. We need rent control to stop people from losing their homes due to the current shortage and we need to establish local authority housing trusts as is being done in South Dublin City Council in order to access funding to build and maintain a large stock of social housing.


“The solution to the crisis in social housing is to provide more housing not to massage the figures like this government is trying to do. The Fingal team of Sinn Féin councillors will be pro-active in terms of providing solutions however we will also vigorously oppose schemes like the HAP scheme that deliberately put people into more difficulties.

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