Sinn Féin TD for North-Cork Central Thomas Gould has challenged the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to come to Cork and see with his own eyes the extent of derelict properties in the city.
Teachta Gould made the comments in the Dáil, as he challenged the government to step up and tackle the housing crisis in Cork as thousands of people are affected by rising rents and lack of housing supply.
He has previously raised concerns about the failure to implement the derelict site levy, with Cork City Council collecting less than a third of Derelict Sites levies so far this year.
Teachta Gould told Minister O’Brien:
“The Minister calls this policy Housing for All. It will provide housing for some but not for ordinary people.
“It will provide housing for developers, landowners, speculators, investment and vulture funds, and greedy landlords but not for ordinary people who are trying to put a roof over their heads and pay a rent or mortgage that is sustainable.
“In Cork alone, there are 9,000 vacant and derelict houses. Last weekend, a group in Cork did a derelict tour of Cork city and it took them two and half hours to walk one portion of it.
“I thank the Community Action Tenants Union, CATU, Frank O’Connor, Jude Sherry and everyone who walked with them for what they did to highlight this dereliction.
“This was caused by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Do the Government Deputies not understand that or do they deny they are responsible?
“Will the Minister come to Cork city with me to meet Cork City Council officials? I will walk him around the city and show him the dereliction that is destroying Cork.”
Speaking after the debate, Teachta Gould said:
“The housing crisis is a serious issue in Cork, with thousands of people on ordinary incomes priced out of renting or buying a home. This has to change.
“The government has continually failed to tackle the housing crisis. I will continue to challenge the government on their inaction and to stand up for the people of Cork affected by this devastating crisis. Sinn Féin in government would put ordinary workers and families first, to ensure that the housing crisis finally ends.”