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A MAYDAY CALL FOR IRELAND'S HOMELESS; Protesters demand urgent action to tackle housing crisis; Fianna Fail slams Government over building of new properties.

Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

PROTESTERS took to the streets yesterday to highlight the homeless crisis they claim is spiralling out of control.

Trade unionists and social activists took part in a May Day march in central Dublin to focus attention on the failure to deal with the scandal.

Homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry addressed a rally and demanded more action from the Government.

He said current strategies are not working and more radical measures are needed to deal with the crisis.

Fianna Fail claimed there are serious questions over the figures being released by the Government in relation to the number of houses being built. The party's Barry Cowen said people have woken up to the spin on housing and are showing their frustration by protesting.

He added hundreds of people are marching in Dublin to call for Government action to address the escalating housing crisis.

Mr Cowen said: "The Government keeps pushing the message that housing is its No1 priority but unfortunately the results of a series of action plans to address the crisis to date have been extremely disappointing.

"Mr Coveney's record in delivering social and affordable housing is poor, and attempts to overstate the number of housing completions have backfired in the wake of new census figures.

"Fine Gael in Government has presided over the lowest number of social housing completions in more than 20 years - with just 4,000 homes constructed between 2011 and 2016.

"That is significantly less than the annual figures between 1994 to 2009.

"This fall-off in social housing is one of the main contributors to the current crisis and needs to be has over number addressed as a matter of urgency because the private sector is simply unable to meet the current housing demand."

Mr Cowen said despite major proposals homelessness is getting worse instead of better.

He added: "Despite a succession of grand plans, which Mr Coveney has been rolling out over the past 10 months, homelessness levels have risen month on month.

"This is proof that these initiatives are not tackling the problems at the heart of this crisis.

"We need targeted plans which tackle homelessness, supply issues and which encourage construction.

"Instead of focusing on one area at a time we need to combine our efforts to ensure a more cohesive strategy that will effectively deal with the issues facing tens of thousands of families across the country."

yesterday wt t news@irishmirror.ie

IRISH MIRROR COMMENT: PAGE 10

Fine Gael has presided over lowest number of completions in 20 years BARRY COWEN dublin yesterday

CAPTION(S):

ON THE MARCH Unions and activists led yesterday's demo in Dublin

SPEECH Fr Peter McVerry

DEMO Marchers in Dublin yesterday

RALLY Woman at protest

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 2, 2017
Words:451
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