Thursday, 3 December 2015

Anne Ferris TD votes in favour of the homelessness and housing crisis by her absence - Cllr John Brady

Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr John Brady has issued a scathing criticism of Labour Party TD Anne Ferris for her failure to vote on a Sinn Féin Bill aimed at introducing real rent certainty and providing additional resources for the prevention of homelessness.

The Bill seeks to link rent variations to the rate of inflation and to provide for local authority to consider and take action to assist those at risk of homelessness in a preventative way.

Cllr Brady said; "In my view, Anne Ferris TD failing to vote on such an important piece of legislation effectively equates to her voting in favour of maintaining the homelessness and housing crisis.

"Those who voted for Labour Party in 2011 are enraged because they expected them to go into the Dáil fight for ordinary people. Anne Ferris' absence was a vote in favour of the status quo - of zero social housing build, exorbitant rents and increasing homelessness.

"It is absolutely infuriating that, at a time when Wicklow has over 3,000 households on the social housing waiting list and we have 130 families presenting as homeless, Deputy Ferris didn't think the issue important enough to cast a vote. I think that says all you need to know about why ordinary people feel betrayed by the Labour Party in government.

"If Anne Ferris believes that there are technical difficulties or indeed amendments that should be considered, then Sinn Féin had made it clear that we would be happy to consider such suggestions at committee stage.

"Deputy Ferris is clearly running from a housing crisis that has been created by her government's policy. In Wicklow, she is nowhere to be seen on the issue. She has avoided in engaging with the local council and the housing SPC nearly every time that meetings with Wicklow's TDs have been arranged. Now, it seems that she has extended that approach into her work in the Dáil. I have already described her as Wicklow's "Scarlet Pimpernel" - sought everywhere but nowhere to found.

"This behaviour is typical of the Labour Party in government. They implement policies that result in disaster for ordinary people and then go missing when real solutions and progressive measures are being proposed.

"Anne Ferris should have shown-up, and voted in favour of this Bill, if she was serious about addressing the housing crisis.

"Unfortunately, the Labour Party and Anne Ferris TD has turned away from the public provision of social and affordable housing in favour of Fine Gael's preference feeding the profiteering that is currently evident in the private sector.

“I was also disappointed to note that Deputies Andrew Doyle, Billy Timmins and Stephen Donnelly were also absent for the vote. The only Wicklow TD to vote, Simon Harris, unsurprisingly towed the Fine Gael line.

“The lack of representation demonstrated, in this case, is a disservice to the people of Wicklow.

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