Politicians from across the divide were united in their support for the sleepover challenge. Tipperary’s Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, paid a flying visit to the Dome on Friday.
he Department has recently approved a range of progressive measures to tackle homelessness. The new Government homeless strategy means Tipperary Co. Council will not be allowed to leave Council owned properties vacant. “There will be more social housing available. It infuriates me to see Council property not ready for occupancy. We’re also looking at range of homeless services across the country. A new Social Housing Strategy will be announced just after the budget. We are going to have to find funding mechanisms for building social housing into the future, which do not add to the national debt.” Deputy Kelly is working closely with Brendan Howlin to find money for these projects over the next three to five years, along with Michael Noonan, with a view to creating tax measures which may help ease the cost of building new homes. “We’re going to encourage more householders to take in tenants who are on rent supplements, and give them security of tenure.” Deputy Kelly said local authorities need to provide more land and need to plan ahead.
“Local authorities simply need to be building more houses. For the last 15 years, the authorities didn’t build houses. The privatisation of social housing was an absolute disgrace, and it’s left us where we are today. When the country was plentiful with money, the privatisation of the social housing market provided reasoning for building houses not necessarily in places where houses were needed. We simply need to get back to building homes for people,” added Deputy Kelly.
Independent TD Michael Lowry, FF Cllr Jackie Cahill, and SF Cllr David Doran, all attended the all-night sit in. Cllr Doran said it’s a cause close to his heart. “It’s not really that visible in Thurles, but it is very apparent to me in my job in public life.”