Drogheda Civic Trust Annual T.K. Whitaker Lecture

(01 Oct 2015)

Press Release

30th September 2015

Taoiseach Enda Kenny must show leadership on the housing crisis and replace the political rhetoric of individual Ministers with a joined up Government response which will deliver for homeless families, according to Social Campaigner and Founder of Focus Ireland, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy.

Sr Stan says the Government could "with a stroke of a pen take action to prevent more families becoming homeless this very month by increasing the rent supplement and by delivering rent certainty to landlords and tenants."

Delivering the annual Whitaker Lecture at Drogheda's Highlanes Gallery, Sr Stan said it should be a source of national shame that as the country prepares to mark the century of the Easter Rising that the most basic right to a home has become a debased currency.

During her remarks St Stan added:

"While the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has accepted that we have a housing and homeless crisis - the response from his Government has not been a crisis one.  Each day the numbers of homeless people is increasing and now needs an emergency response.

Instead families who have lost the roof over their heads are bombarded across the airwaves with political bickering, infighting and rivalry. What action has been taken is piecemeal when an Effective across Government Emergency Response is urgently needed. Such a response can only come from the very top, the Taoiseach and his office.

We need to immediately stop the flow of families into homelessness and a short term and long term response to provide good quality housing in sustainable communities where there is access to health, education and welfare - this will not be achieved unless Departments work together.

There is no reason why the Government could half the numbers becoming homeless each month by taking action now. Quick measures must include an increase in the rent supplement, the delivery of the long promised rent certainty and a firm hand to be taken with the banks to avoid an avalanche of home possessions.

Politicians should be ashamed that they are about to ask the people for their votes at a time when 2 or 3 new families are becoming homeless every day (70 families a month) - when 1,500 children do not wake up in a bed to call their own and so many of our people lying awake at night fearing a knock on the door.

I am making a direct appeal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to knock heads together including Nama, developers, Local Authorities etc as well as his Ministers and top civil servants, set up an emergency task force to replace rhetoric with real actions. By showing leadership now we can offer some hope to those facing desperation."

Irish Times Article here


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