Reaction to new Cabinet: New minister must act quickly on housing and homelessness

Reaction to new Cabinet: New minister must act quickly on housing and homelessness

Update 9.55pm:The Inner City Helping Homeless group have expressed the hope that new housing minister, Eoghan Murphy, will act immediately to address the housing crisis.

ICHH CEO Anthony Flynn pointed out that Mr Murphy takes the position in the midst of a homeless crisis that sees 7,500 homeless people in the country of which 2,708 are children and that the new minister has a huge task that needs immediate action.

"I do feel that the re-positioning of Ministers will add to the chaos that already surrounds housing and homelessness right across the country.

"There isn't time for a long bedding in period, Minister Murphy will have to quickly set out his stall and reassure service providers whether or not plans that are in place currently will continue under his appointment or will we see yet another change of direction.

"Homelessness is at an all time high in the country and we need to see immediate action taken."

This coming Saturday the 17th of June we will be having a National Homeless Demonstration from Custom House Quay to Dail Eireann at 1pm.

Meanwhile, the The Irish Research Council has welcomed the appointment of Mary Mitchell O’Connor as Minister of State with responsibility for Higher Education.

Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Chair of the Irish Research Council, said she was glad to see higher education awarded increased prominence within Cabinet.

"We look forward to working with her on the development of the Irish research system and the cultivation of exceptional research talent for Ireland’s economic, social and cultural needs.

“Education, Skills and Research are critical to Ireland’s future and will be key drivers of innovation, investment and broader societal development. A healthy research eco-system and the broad-based development of our higher education and research institutions will future-proof Ireland for the challenges that lie ahead, not least Brexit. The Council looks forward to engaging with Minister Mitchell O’Connor on these issues and briefing her on our work.”

Update 9.40:Incoming Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty must show more compassion and understanding when it comes to dealing with the most vulnerable members of our society than her predecessor according to Sinn Féin Deputy Social Protection Spokesperson Denise Mitchell TD.

In a statemment this evening Deputy Mitchell said the position of Social Protection Minister is an incredibly important role that involves supporting and aiding diverse groups of citizens.

Reaction to new Cabinet: New minister must act quickly on housing and homelessness

“Unfortunately, during his time as Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar presided over a regime which blatantly discriminated against young jobseekers for no other reason than their age, via reduced payments for younger citizens.

“His ridiculous welfare fraud campaign targeted the most vulnerable in society and appeared to be aimed at shoring-up his own support within Fine Gael rather than tackling welfare fraud in any meaningful way.

She went on to suggest that most recently, thousands of women who were reliant on maternity benefit payments were left waiting.

“Sinn Féin wants to see an end to the discrimination against young people in jobseekers payments, a reversal of the continued discrimination against women in the calculation of their State Pensions and the creation of a society which cares for and supports its most vulnerable.

Update 9pm: Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the new cabinet is not the ambitious team Leo Varadkar had claimed it was.

Speaking in the Dail she said: "Far from a team preparing to meet the challenges of our times you now captain a team of procrastinators, excuse makers and responsibility evaders."

Reaction to new Cabinet: New minister must act quickly on housing and homelessness

Earlier: Sinn Fein spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Simon Coveney of "turning his back on the people he promised to help" as he moves from Housing to Foreign Affairs.

The Dublin Mid-West TD also accused the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of "not taking the housing crisis seriously" by changing Minister just a year into the Government’s new Housing Action Plan.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ó Broin said Simon Coveney had been Minister for Housing for twelve months and never before had a Minister promised so much and delivered so little.

"In the initial months as Minister he raised peoples hopes and expectations. In the end however his legacy in housing is little more than a string of press launches and dodgy statistics. Unfortunately after a year in office the housing and homeless crisis is worse than ever.

"Homelessness has increased, as has the cost of renting and buying a home. Meanwhile social housing delivery continues at a snails pace while the number of people at risk of homelessness continues to rise. Thanks to Minister Coveney the housing crisis is worse today than when he took office.

Mr O'Brion went on to suggest that Taoiseach Varadkar's decision to replace his Housing Minister just twelve months into a six year Housing Action Plan suggested he was not taking the housing crisis seriously.

"If the new Taoiseach was serious about tackling the housing and homeless crisis he would have left Simon Coveney in office to finish the job he started. Now a new Minister will have to waste valuable months reading themselves into this complex brief while the number of adults and children in acute housing need continues to grow.

"Incoming Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has a huge job on his hands. Like many I'm surprised by his appointment. During his six years in the Dáil his involvement in debates on housing and homelessness has been minimal.

"I would urge him to listen to the growing number of housing policy experts calling for the Government to abandon their over reliance on the private sector and to significantly increase direct state provision of social and affordable homes."

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