Cowen: Government social housing failure is a disgrace
It is a disgrace that the Government has not taken up offers from the Credit Union movment, which has a strong presence in Laois, to help solve the housing crisis according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing and Offaly TD, Barry Cowen..
Deputy Cowen made the comments after Credit Union representatives appeared before the Dáil Housing Committee to outline the resources they have available to invest in social housing.
“It’s simply disgraceful that the Government continues to refuse to engage with Credit Unions with the view to securing funding for vital housing projects. The Government is refusing to remove the roadblocks that are preventing Credit Unions from making an estimated €2bn investment in social and affordable housing."
“While the Government continues to fudge the numbers on housing delivery, their claim that enough is being spent to build new social housing is simply untrue. Expenditure on social housing is still just €316m, compared to €818m in 2009. Investment in housing is still 65% below the average annual investment from 2004 to 2010. Credit Unions can play a vital role in providing the financing which is clearly needed for social housing projects," said the TD.
The TD who could be a candidate in the a new Laois Offaly constituency said the Government needs to help establish a special purpose fund which would enable Credit Unions to pool finance and reduce risk. He said this would help clear the barriers which are currently in place preventing Credit Unions from investing in housing projects.
"There is absolutely no explanation from the Government as to why they are refusing to establish a new credit union investment vehicle." he said.
The Credit Union movement in Laois is represented by the People First Credit Union, St Canice's Credit Union and stand alone branches in Mountmellick and Portarlington.