TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has accused Deputy Timmy Dooley of having “some neck” following a dispute over their respective parties’ record on social housing.
Deputy Dooley alleged the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has a “habit of making statements, which are untrue”.
“In some instances, people have come to accept them as fact. Deputy Kenny initially made the statement that the problem with social housing went back to the previous government’s time, where they didn’t build houses. That is patently untrue,” he claimed.
When Fianna Fáil were in government during previous recessions, Deputy Dooley said they increased the house building programme to meet the demand and need.
“It seems to me that Enda Kenny doesn’t care about this issue. He is only interested in winning the next general election and he will sail into the sunset, leaving a pent-up problem for future generations,” he claimed.
However, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said Deputy Dooley has “some neck” accusing any other party of leaving a problem for future generations, considering Fianna Fail’s legacy, which the Fine Gael/Labour Government is still cleaning up after.
He pointed out the construction sector suffered a massive decline when the economy collapsed in 2008. The sector at that time was over-heated; was employing 280,000 people, delivering 90,000 housing units a year and was contributing almost 25% of Ireland’s GNP. By 2012, the numbers employed had reduced to less than 100,000, the number of housing units had fallen to below 8,000 and the sector was contributing 6.5% of Ireland’s GNP.
“It is absolutely extraordinary that Deputy Dooley has the gall to wax lyrical about Fianna Fáil’s so-called achievements in this regard. This Government is concerned with sustainably rebuilding Ireland through the Government’s two main policy responses: Construction 2020 and the Social Housing Strategy 2020.
“The Government’s aim is to see the construction sector return to a sustainable proportion of GDP; increase jobs by up to 60,000 and increase output to the 25,000 houses required annually.
“We are not going back to the boom-bust cycle that beset the construction sector in particular. The decline in the construction sector took a huge toll on people through job and financial losses. We cannot and will not go back to the days of an artificial and unsustainable property bubble that was overseen by Fianna Fáil,” said the spokesman.
Deputy Dooley said under Fianna Fáil, from 2007-2010, there were 14,581 new social housing units built, an average of 107 units per local authority per year.
In contrast, under Fine Gael/Labour from 2011 to 2014, there have been 1,252 new units built, or an average of nine units per local authority, per year.
In Clare, under Fianna Fáil, there were 366 social housing units constructed, while FG/Labour built a total of 47, or just 12 per year.
“This is the true cause of the current crisis, one completely of the Government’s own making. Secondly, the waiting times on the social housing lists from each local authority reveal that in actual fact, most social housing applicants have been on the list for less than five years.
“In Clare, the population weighted average waiting time is 3.5 years,” he said.
“The total housing completions includes new builds, acquisitions and units acquired under Part 5 for local authority rental purposes. Under Part 5, a larger percentage of houses built by private developers under the Fianna Fáil-led Government would have been provided due to the greater overall number compared with the current administration,” Deputy Dooley said.