Labour Senator criticises plan to offer families accommodation in rural areas

Housing will be a key focus at this year's Labour Party Away Day, which begins today.

Health, education and capital expenditure are also on the agenda at the two-day event in Athy in Co Kildare.

At this week's housing summit, Minister Eoghan Murphy said the government would give those who are homeless, in emergency accommodation or on the social housing list a chance to relocate to communities outside the city.

Labour Senator Kevin Humphries said that he is very disappointed with Minister Murphy's statement.

Kevin Humphreys

“What we need now is social housing to be built in those main urban centres,” he said.

“Offering families accommodation, away from their families, in rural areas may be an option for a few but not for many because children are going to schools, they have their own social networks and it would be very difficult to uproot families and send them into rural areas, where they’re not used to living.”

He added: “I would have been much happier if Minister Murphy had announced action to deal with our short-term lease, or Air Bn’B, to which over 2.500 units have been lost in our capital city and up to 6,500 across the country.

“Basically, we’re housing tourists in homes and we’re putting homeless families in hotels, and this has to stop.”

Speaking ahead of the think-in, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin TD, said: “I am delighted to be here in Athy where we will be discussing some of the biggest issues facing our country, and none more pertinent than housing, health or education.

“We are now one year into this Government’s term in office and we have seen very little real positive action in any of these key areas, with the housing and homelessness crisis devastating communities, and A&E overcrowding at an all-time high.

“Over the next two days, we will be looking at some of these issues in detail with keynote speakers and I look forward to a robust discussion.

“We will also be welcoming some new faces to our annual think-in with our newly selected General Election candidates, as well as Labour Councillors for the first time.

“With the new Dáil term starting soon, Labour is once again ready and committed to holding this do-nothing Government to account in the year ahead.”

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