December 10, 2019
140,000 children living in substandard accommodation – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today, has raised the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s ‘Growing Up in the Cold’ report which highlights the fact that 140,000 children are living in homes with leaks, damp or rot.

He has called on the Taoiseach to act on a 2017 Sinn Féin motion on standards in the private rented sector; including the introduction of an NCT-type certification system for private rented housing, the provision of adequate resourcing to local authorities to ensure meaningful inspection and enforcement, and the conducting of a review of penalties for non-compliant landlords.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has launched its ‘Growing Up in the Cold’ report that exposes the grim reality of thousands of families living in energy poverty.

“One in six households are spending more than 10% of their income on heating and electricity, with older people and lone parents particularly affected. This report shows that 42% of children living in the private rented sector experience energy poverty, with 36% of children living in social housing experiencing likewise.

“The report clearly shows a relationship between poor quality accommodation and energy poverty, and it finds that 140,000 children are living in homes with leaks, damp and rot.

“One parent quoted in the report said: ‘There are six of us with two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. We have one small heater and we move it from room to room’

“This is a clear breach of minimum standards and two years ago the Dáil passed a Sinn Féin motion on standards in the private rented sector; including the introduction of an NCT-type certification system for private rented housing, the provision of adequate resourcing to local authorities to ensure meaningful inspection and enforcement, and the conducting of a review of penalties for non-compliant landlords.

“Two years on and what has changed? Last year just 9% of private rental properties were inspected, and of those 82% failed to meet minimum standards. It’s a shocking situation.

“The government’s failure to resource the enforcement of minimum standards is leaving tens of thousands of people living in the cold and the failure to properly fund the maintenance of Council housing is leaving thousands of the State’s tenants in unacceptable conditions.

“So, I would implore the Taoiseach to fully implement the proposals from the 2017 Sinn Féin motion that was passed without opposition in the Dáil and to implement the seven recommendations contained in today’s St. Vincent de Paul report.”

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