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Order of Business

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Senator Paul Gavan

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I, too, wish to raise the issue of housing. With reference to my own city of Limerick, this Friday we will see a new budget struck by the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael coalition. Yes, I am afraid that we have a local coalition comprised of both of the parties as well as a national coalition.
Sinn Féin's council team reviewed the figures last Monday. We learned that there will be nothing of substance to address the horrendous housing crisis in Limerick city. There are 315 people homeless in Limerick, of which 154 are children, and there are thousands of people on the waiting list. Let us consider the most telling figures. Of the 2,443 additional tenancies that local councils provided in the past three years, more than 1,900 of them have gone to the private sector. In other words, almost all of the so-called work of providing housing is throwing money at private landlords. That is the solution provided by Fine Gael and, I am afraid to say, Fianna Fáil. That coalition has failed the people of Limerick day after day, which is a disgrace. When will we realise that councils used to, in the worst of times, build housing? When will the Government supply the money to make sure there is sufficient housing build in the pipeline? I ask because we now know it is not.
I wish to put on the record something that we all know. This crisis it not getting better; it is getting worse. The figures in Limerick are proof. Month after month the homeless figures continue to increase. The number of people given notice by landlords, who are greedy unscrupulous landlords in many cases, continues to increase. As Senator Byrne acknowledged yesterday, rents in Limerick have increased by 11% over the past year. That is the failure of a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil coalition both locally and nationally. I call on the Leader to arrange a debate on the issue. It is not good enough for Fine Gael to keep believing in the mantra of a privatised solution for the housing problem. It is a failure of politics and the party has had seven years to sort this out.
The second issue I want to raise relates to the football match last night. As we all know, we suffered a huge disappointment last night.