Independent Galway West TD, Catherine Connolly has appealed for public land to be used for public housing due to rising homelessness.
When speaking to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, she highlighted the problem in Galway City.
“We have land in the docks run by a company on behalf of the people of Galway, entirely answerable to themselves. Even though they are theoretically owned by the City Council,” Deputy Catherine Connolly said.
“They have public land. Why that public land is not used simply for public housing is beyond my comprehension,” she added.
The former Mayor of Galway voiced her support of the motion on the Affordable Housing Scheme but had called the five-page response from the government “nothing short of shocking”.
Deputy Connolly referenced areas around Galway including Sandy Road and how it “should be used for public housing”.
She believes Galway has plenty of other public land, “however the Council is now telling us there is no more”.
Meanwhile, the Independent TD called for Minister O’Brien to eradicate this issue.
“For me, Minister, if you want to make a difference, you make an announcement that public land is for public housing,” Deputy Connolly stated.
Spike in homelessness figures
The Dáil noted that the homelessness figures have risen in the last year from 8,475 to a record of 10,805. The figure includes over 3,000 children.
Deputy Connolly noted that the persistence of the housing crisis is evidence that “we have normalised homelessness”.
“Surely there is something wrong with our policy when that is the level of visible homelessness we know about,” she continued.
Subsequently, she criticised the current policy. The Independent Deputy stated that there has been a consistent rise in rents and how this directly indicates that the housing policy is “fundamentally flawed”.
Nevertheless, in regard to Government policy, Deputy Connolly had “the privilege, or the torture, of being a representative for a long time”. Over that time, she had “watched the results of Government policy intensifying the housing crisis over and over”.