Government slammed on housing
Speaking in support of a Dáil Private Members motion calling for radical action to solve the housing crisis, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said that the issue was the Dublin government's ``biggest single failure''. Speaking in Leinster House on Tuesday night, 13 June, the Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD said:
``We have been in the depths of a housing crisis since this government came to office, a crisis that has worsened since the general election almost exactly three years ago.
``At a time when there are daily revelations about the funding of the two major parties by speculators and developers over 50,000 people are languishing on housing waiting lists. These waiting lists were created by the inaction of these same parties in successive governments and by the gross pofiteering of their friends and fundraisers. This is a national scandal.
``The 1999 Assessment of Local Authority Housing Needs shows over 700 people on the waiting list in County Cavan and over 600 in County Monaghan. People in desperate housing need are coming to me and to my party colleagues daily. For these people this is a crisis. Their right to housing is fundamental and it is primarily the responsibility of the State, through direct provision by the local authorities, to ensure that those people are housed.
``There must be action by the government to curb speculation. In our pre-Budget submission we in Sinn Féin argued for an increase in Capital Gains Tax on speculative owners of multiple dwellings. Such a tax could be introduced on a phased basis over two years at 40% in April 2001, and 60% in April 2002. We also called for abolition of stamp duty for all houses whose purchase price is less than £150,000. We have yet to see the measures we are told were approved by the Cabinet today but its reported that the government, very belatedly, is coming some way towards these proposals. I hope they are but much, much more needs to be done. Much more should have been done before now.
Whatever measures are announced this week they cannot hope to make up for three years of failure and neglect by this Fianna Fáil/PD government on the housing crisis. When the next general election comes and the record of this government is examined its biggest single failure will be crystal clear - and that is its refusal to take the radical measures needed to house our people.''