Taoiseach: About time county councils got back into the business of providing houses

Taoiseach: About time county councils got back into the business of providing houses

By Daniel McConnell, Political Editor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has laid the blame at local authorities for the delay in building social houses in the Dáil today.

During Leaders' Questions, Mr Kenny was fielding questions about the Government's new Housing Plan and insisted that county councils have been given the money and it is up to them to “get on with it”.

"They have the money," Mr Kenny said.

"It's about time now that county councils got back into the business of providing houses for their people.

"They've been given the money, the opportunites, the incentives to open up sites that are currently off limits and to get on with that job.

"And the challenge for everybody is this is a real priority for Government and we intend to see that it will work and be seen to work."

Mr Kenny was responding to questions from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams who criticised the Government's plan as "wholly insufficient".

Mr Adams sought clarity as to why the Government had commended the Oireachtas Housing Committee while ignoring many of its key recommendations, most importantly in relation to putting a stop on repossessions.

“It is the most commended committee of this new Dáil, but why are you ignoring it,” Mr Adams said.

In response, Mr Kenny confirmed that not all of the committee's recommendations, but that the committee, was commended for its efforts.

Mr Kenny was also challenged on the crisis in third-level funding by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said Ireland is falling behind other countries.

He referred to persistent cuts to funding and called on Mr Kenny to commit to a recommendation from the Cassells report which called for an increase in funding of €125m per year for the next five years.

Mr Kenny stopped short of saying the Government accepted the recommendations of the Cassells report, and that the funding of the third-level sector is a matter for the Budget in October.

Independent TD Maureen O'Sullivan pressed the Taoiseach on the looming trade deal between the EU and the US, saying Ireland will be open to litigation from companies.

She called on the Government not to sign up to a similar trade deal with Canada, which she says will leave Ireland open to great risks from powerful corporations.


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