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We can end child homelessness; as long as the political will is there.

6 February 2019

Statement by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

Labour Party Housing spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan has said that if we are to fulfill the ideals of the Democratic Programme one hundred years after its publication, then we must remove all barriers to housing and bring an end to family homelessness. 

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“The Labour Party is bringing a motion before the Dáil today to set out a pathway to fulfill the commitments to the Republic as set out in the Democratic Programme of the first Dáil. The ideals adopted by our predecessors 100 years ago are a challenge that we are now in a position to rise to.

“Ireland is now a developed nation; we have worked our way out of the worst economic disaster since the foundation of the state; there is wealth but this is not shared equally and many of the children in our state are living in poverty, some are homeless, some haven’t got the most basic right of knowing their own identity.

“With political will, we can now chart a course to address the needs of all our children. Nearly 4000 of those are without a secure roof over their heads.

“Between November 2017 and November 2018, there has been a 14% rise in child homelessness. Their right to that basic human need is not guaranteed despite the recent referendum to place children’s rights in the Constitution.

“The tragedy of this is that it can be fixed: last week at the Raise the Roof conference, architect Mel Reynolds pointed out that there is enough Local Authority owned land, zoned for housing, to build 50,000 units of accommodation nationally, 30,000 of those in the Dublin area.  What is missing is the will and drive from Government.

“In the Labour Party, we have presented detailed costed proposals for 80,000 social and affordable homes to be built over 5 years.  That is the scale of what is needed and delivery at present falls very far short of that.

“Labour has also steered a Bill through the Dáil which is now stalled in committee that would oblige Housing Authorities and the state to prioritise the interests of the child and to assist families, including providing them with safe accommodation.

“We can end child homelessness by legal and practical action.

“As long as the will is there.”