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Dail Debate: Government Knowingly and Deliberately Causing Homelessness-Seamus Healy TD

Dail Record:

Seamus Healy TD: The outgoing Government, knowingly and deliberately, created and caused homelessness. I say this because the State owns Allied Irish Banks, Permanent TSB and the Educational Building Society. The Minister and current caretaker Administration are allowing these financial institutions to evict people from their homes.

They can stop such evictions by telling the banks to stop causing homelessness. No legislation is required to do so because the Government, through the Ministers for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Finance, could issue a simple directive to stop financial institutions from making people homeless.

The National Asset Management Agency which is owned by the State is creating homelessness by evicting people and selling residences and apartments to vulture funds that are engaging in evictions. The State could also stop this practice by issuing a simple instruction to NAMA. I reiterate that the State is deliberately creating homelessness and should stop doing so immediately.

I will refer briefly to the Tánaiste's reference to the housing assistance payment. The HAP scheme is an outrageous rip-off of tenants, most, if not all, of whom must pay differential rent to their local authority and a top-up to their landlord, which is often as much as €50 per week. The scheme should be stopped immediately.

If we are to address the homelessness and housing crisis, the Government and the new Dáil must declare a housing emergency immediately. Otherwise, we will not be able to deal with the problem. The Government should also take up the offer made by the credit unions to provide between €5 billion and €8 billion to help address the housing problem.