18/07/2011

Residents Protest Housing List Cuts

At a packed meeting in Killiney in Dublin last Thursday local residents voted to launch a campaign to protest against the government’s new housing policy that will see thousands of people thrown off the housing list.

Angry residents agreed to protest at Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and local TD Eamonn Gilmore’s constituency office at 9.30am today.

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD has expressed utter shock at the Coalition government’s new Social Housing policy, which he said “will effectively do away with Council housing as we know it and will see tens of thousands of housing applicants across the country removed from Council lists.”

Under the new policy local authorities will build no social housing for the foreseeable future and virtually all those currently in private rented accommodation and in receipt of rent allowance will be deemed to be adequately housed and disqualified from Council housing lists.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the proposals represented yet another obscene bail-out for the developers and banks that had caused the current crisis, where hundreds of millions more would be poured into their coffers rather than coming back to the local authorities in the form of Council rents.

The government’s new Housing Allocations Scheme was presented at a meeting of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) on June 12th and voted upon. Only Cllr’s Melisa Halpin and Hugh Lewis of People Before Profit voted to oppose the scheme.

The new housing policy is due to be implemented in all local authorities across the country and will see thousands of families thrown off the housing list.

Under the new government policy, the preferred scheme for providing social housing will be via the leasing by Councils of accommodation from private landlords and developers.

Furthermore, there has also been a significant change of the definition of housing need which will mean that thousands of people currently on the waiting list may be considered to not need housing.

Cllr Melisa Halpin said today: “This new scheme is appalling. The government is effectively doing away with the traditional concept of Council housing and at a stroke disqualifying thousands upon thousands of applicants from Council housing lists.

“There is going to be significant anger when thousands of people waiting years on Council housing lists discover that they are no longer eligible for Council housing. Last week’s meeting and today’s protest are just the first expressions of that anger.”

Cllr Hugh Lewis commented: “All the Labour Councillors in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown voted in favour of the new scheme on the basis that there is no alternative because Ireland is now under instruction from the IMF. Labour should be standing up to the IMF as it promised before the election and todays protest is a sign of growing anger with the Labour Party.”

(BMcN/GK)

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