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Dáil Speech on Social Housing and Nama: Private Members Motion Wednesday 20th February

It is ironic that we are debating a motion from Sinn Féin which is seeking a truth and reconciliation board to be established in the North. I wish Sinn Féin Members would tell the truth when they come to the House. I speak in particular about Deputy Ferris who quoted a lot of figures yesterday. He said that when he added up all of the figures that more than 200,000 people were awaiting accommodation in the State. The reality however is that unfortunately, there are 98,000 people on housing lists in various local authorities around the country. The number has mushroomed in recent years. It is strange that Sinn Féin comes to the House and preaches to us about how we should look after people’s housing needs yet it is in power in the North and is on the housing authority there when in the Six Counties there are 36,000 people seeking houses.

Proportionately, that is the same as the number of people looking for housing here. Why should Sinn Féin Members come into this House and lecture us as to what we should do with regard to social housing when they are not looking after the people in the North of Ireland where their party is in power?

A Deputy spoke about NAMA during the debate on the Bill yesterday. NAMA has approximately 4,000 houses available for social housing throughout the country. We must get our local authorities to actively engage with NAMA. In my county of Kildare 227 properties were made available to the local authorities there but to date only four have been delivered. Forty three are contracted to be completed with the local authority, and a further 48 properties are actively under negotiation. It is vitally important that we, as public representatives, encourage our local authorities to actively engage with NAMA because it is willing to make those properties available for social housing to allow us remove the 98,000 people on the list. It is ironic that Sinn Féin Members should come in here and lecture us on the way we should look after our social housing needs when their party is in power in the North of Ireland and they do not care about the people there.

ENDS