Sinn Féin labels government housing plans 'lame' with health and housing back on the agenda

The two main issues from February's general election are back on the agenda as Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced questions on health and housing in Wednesday's Dáil debates.
Sinn Féin labels government housing plans 'lame' with health and housing back on the agenda
Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced questions on housing and health today in the Dáil. The main issues of the general election firmly back on the agenda.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced questions on housing and health today in the Dáil. The main issues of the general election firmly back on the agenda.

The two main issues from February's general election are back on the agenda as Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced questions on health and housing in Wednesday's Dáil debates.

Trolley numbers have begun to rise again since the lockdown guidelines have begun to ease, with 109 people waiting on beds in hospitals on Wednesday.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said in order to thank frontline workers in the health service for their work during the pandemic would be to eliminate the pressure on staff by reducing trolley numbers.

The Taoiseach noted that emergency presentations in hospitals have been steadily rising, and that the HSE plan on resuming services should be published by the end of the month, adding that the government has committed to honouring the pay agreements set to be implemented in October.

Likewise, when Independent TD Joan Collins pushed the Taoiseach on why some children still did not have access to Spinraza, a drug used in the treatment of children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the former Minister for Health made commitments that he would find out why there was a delay in access, telling the Dáil that "every day matters" in these situations.

The Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald took the Taoiseach to task over the housing crisis, noting the government voted against her party's motion on Tuesday on affordable housing plans, labelling the government's plan as "lame" and queried why the government's plan for affordable housing won't be available until September.

The Taoiseach rejected Ms McDonald's assertion, noting his party are dedicated to affordable housing, to some jeers from Sinn Féin TDs.

"I enjoy Sinn Féin's conversion to affordable housing given they voted against Fianna Fáil's motion on affordable housing in the last government," he said.

"The programme for government is very comprehensive on housing, it's part of our core policy to enable people to afford houses and the state will be far more involved in providing the wherewithal through the Land Development Agency (LDA) and local authorities, and the new minister I'm sure will dedicate energy to it."

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