My Department is not aware of any specific survey on relationship breakdown involving children and its impact on the demand for social housing. The Department of Social and Family Affairs has published two reports under the families research programme entitled "Children's Experience of Parental Separation" and "Unhappy Marriages: Does Counselling Help?". However, neither report refers directly to the effects of relationship breakdown on the demand for social housing. The overall demand for social housing is indicated by the assessment of the need for local authority housing. This assessment is carried out in accordance with the Housing Act 1988 and gives a breakdown of those in need of social housing by family status without, however, specifying the marital status of persons on the waiting list. The most recent assessment was carried out in March 2002 and its results were published in the September quarter 2002 edition of theHousing Statistics Bulletin, which is available from the Oireachtas Library.
The overall results of the recent assessment indicate that a total of 48,413 households were in need of local authority housing as at 28 March 2002. Of this total, some 43% are single person households with children. The assessment does not provide data on whether this figure relates to family breakdown or other circumstances. It is the stated objective of Irish housing policy to address all housing needs and in this way to promote the general welfare of society, including family stability.