Homelessness campaigner hammers Coalition’s new social housing plan as “insignificant”

‘I would be embarrassed making this announcement’
Investment ‘just one of the ways we will be delivering social housing units…,” says McLoughlin.

Sligo News File Online.

Tony McLoughlin, TD, Fine Gael, Sligo-Leitrim
Tony McLoughlin, TD,
Fine Gael, Sligo-Leitrim

The Coalition’s plan to construct 1,700 social housing units has been hammered by homelessness campaigner, Fr. Peter McVerry as “insignificant.”

Under the plan announced by Environment Minister, Alan Kelly, Sligo is to receive €3,250,000 of the national allocation of €312 million for the development of 21 housing projects. Local Fine Gael TD, Tony McLoughlin said the investment “is just one of the ways that we will be delivering social housing units” to the county.

However, speaking on RTEs Today with Keelin Shanley Fr. McVerry attacked the Coalition’s allocation as “insignificant.

“If I was the minister, I’d be embarrassed making this announcement…,” he said.

Fr. Peter McVerry
Fr. Peter McVerry

“1,700 units over three years, that’s less than 600 units a year, and given a housing waiting list of over 100,000 households we are talking of providing accommodation for less than 2% of that waiting list.”

With banks estimating that upwards of 25,000 houses are going to be repossessed between now and 2017, Fr. McVerry said that instead of the waiting list being reduced by 1,700, the number on the list will be much higher than that.

He also pointed out that the government had reduced the funding for social housing by €35 million in the last three years.

McLoughlin said today’s announcement is “the first major investment in local authority housing for many years.”