Enniscorthy-based Sinn Féin General Election candidate Johnny Mythen has criticised Fianna Fáil and its party leader Micheál Martin for executing another ‘flip-flop’ on its position in respect of a rent freeze which shows Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted on housing.
Mythen, who was narrowly pipped for a Dáil seat in the 2016 General Election told WexfordToday.com: “One month ago, in the Dáil chamber, Fianna Fáil were supporting Sinn Féin’s rent reduction and Rent Freeze Bill. Yet today, the Fianna Fáil leader has ‘flip-flopped’ on this support.
“This is despite Micheál Martin standing up during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on the 12th of November and stating: ‘It is time for the government to consider imposing a rent freeze, given the exorbitant levels of rent people are facing.’
“This is disappointing, but not surprising as when our party proposed this some years ago in Wexford County Council it also wasn’t supported.
“While Micheál Martin criticises the rip-off rental culture that currently exists he has no interest in helping out hard pressed renters.
“This another empty promise from Fianna Fáil – the party that will say anything to get back into power. It is clear that Fianna Fáil has not learned from its mistakes.
“They supported four Fine Gael Budgets that have resulted in not one single affordable homes being delivered across Wexford and they have supported an incompetent Minister for Housing in votes of no-confidence. Fianna Fáil simply cannot be trusted to deliver good quality, affordable homes for people who need them.
Sinn Féin will outline its election housing policy tomorrow (Monday).
Meanwhile, Mythen revealed startling figures that show the amount that has been paid to RAS (Rental Assistance Scheme) landlords in Co. Wexford over recent times. “Just over a year ago €375,000 was being paid monthly. That amounts to €4.5 million per year for 495 tenancies, with an average payment of €750 per month.”
Mythen added; “Under the HAP Scheme (Housing Assistance Payment) a figure of €479,000 per month was being revealed, which amounted to €5.7 million per year being paid for 931 tenancies. So, we’re in effect talking about over €10 million per year currently being paid to private tenancies in Co. Wexford. This not only represents a lack of long-term security for Wexford families but also represents bad economics, when the government should be investing public money in building social and affordable homes for families and creating security of tenure, building sustainable local communities and creating a huge spin-off for tradespeople in the construction of such homes and such money going back into the local community.”