September 21st: Commenting on new figures showing that the number of homeless families has risen by 76% since the start of the year, Unite’s Ireland Secretary Jimmy Kelly today called on the Government to use the forthcoming repayment of bank bailout funds to finance a special housing investment programme.
“We have a housing emergency. The latest figures published by the Department of the Environment show that there are 5,000 people in emergency accommodation across the State, of whom nearly 1,500 are children. The number of homeless families has risen by 76 per cent since the start of the year.
“In our Pre-Budget Submission, Unite is proposing that the €2 billion in bank bailout funds due to be returned to the Exchequer by AIB and Permanent TSB be used to fund a temporary once-off social housing investment programme. This programme would focus on the needs of those who are homeless or in emergency accommodation, families waiting for extraordinary lengths of time on the housing lists, and families with special needs.
“EU legislation allows for such measures in the event of emergencies – and we are now clearly facing a housing emergency. In addition, since the package being proposed by Unite would be a once-off investment programme it would have no impact on the structural deficit.
“Five years ago, the banks were bailed off through special once-off expenditure. Now, Unite is proposing a similar special once-off expenditure to address the growing housing crisis”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.