Senator Zappone on housing crisis: ‘They are sleeping in tents in Tallaght’


Senator Zappone spoke yesterday in the Seanad about the housing crisis.  She drew attention to the fact that there are people sleeping in tents in Tallaght, with up to 50 families without emergency accommodation in south Dublin alone.  The Senator praised the efforts of dedicated volunteer groups such as VISIT who are working to serve food to the shelterless and the homeless.  She urged that an all-inclusive solution to the rent crisis be implemented immediately.  Watch the video or read the Senator’s full speech below.

They are sleeping in tents in Tallaght. These are people who often through no fault of their own are not only without a home but are also without shelter. We have a shelterless crisis as well as a homelessness crisis. Reports this week are that 50 families a day are without emergency accommodation in south Dublin. We have a shelterless crisis in Tallaght and throughout the nation and the land, and in a culture where we have this extraordinary seanfhocal which says that we live in each other's shelter and shadow. There still is a little bit of that going on in Tallaght. I experienced it last week. Under the shelter of the oak, beech and chestnut trees alongside the parking lot of the priory in Tallaght village, not far from the famous Friar's Walk, a group of volunteers who call themselves VISIT set up tables, brought food and started to serve people who were shelterless and homeless that day. They have been doing this four times a week over the past year and the numbers they serve are growing. Ask them what they do when it rains or downpours. They say they walk over to the covered entrance to the priory itself. Why do these civically minded, generous volunteers have to do this in the rain? Why do they have to do it at all? The narrative of Ireland's recovery rings hollow close to the Friar's Walk.

The Taoiseach said yesterday that the housing and homelessness crisis is not just a matter of money and I agree with him.  Not only have we not invested enough money - austerity politics was no excuse for that - we have not fixed the local, regional and national systems so that our investments can pay off with shelter for everyone. The Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, said yesterday at the publication of the first report on Threshold's brilliant Dublin tenancy protection service - hats off to the leadership of Senator Hayden and her CEO, Bob Jordan - that rent increases are a moral issue. I agree with the Minister on that too. It is a moral issue for all of us, not just the landlords. Could the Leader ask the Minister, Deputy Kelly, when his solutions or proposals to the rent increase crisis will be tabled and implemented? The people who are sleeping in tents in Tallaght want to know the answer to that too.

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