Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

I call Deputy Micheál Martin.

Is the Ceann Comhairle calling me?

I apologise; I did not hear the Ceann Comhairle.

The Deputy's time has come.

I thank the Deputy for that endorsement.

The lack of housing and the level of homelessness are an appalling blight on our society and, without question, represent an emergency. It is an emergency that demands urgent, effective and targeted action. Too many families and children are homeless. Rents are far too high. Too many people are waiting far too long for council houses. Young working people cannot afford to buy houses. Students' third level experiences are compromised and diminished by the housing crisis and the high cost of accommodation. Official figures do not tell the full story. We all know, from the people we meet at our clinics, the countless number on social housing lists who are living with their parents and other families and of the ensuing strain and stress for all concerned. It is an emergency that has lacked any effective intervention. If the contents of the series of governmental and ministerial announcements in the past four years had come to fruition, in any shape or form, the problems would not be half as bad as they are. Delivery has not matched the high blown rhetoric of ministerial announcements.

The repair and lease scheme, promised in 2017, promised 800 houses, of which none has been delivered. The affordable rental scheme, promised since 2015, has delivered nothing. The rapid build scheme, announced in 2015, with a target of providing 1,500 houses, has delivered 208. NAMA had nearly 7,000 units certified as being available for local authority and social housing, of which approximately 2,400 were delivered. There were 400 units promised by the end of 2018 under the affordable homes scheme, but the number delivered is zero. There was meant to be credit union off balance sheet funding for housing, with a clearing house group set up in 2015, but as yet nothing has been delivered. The Poolbeg West scheme was a strategic development zone announced by the Tánaiste, Deputy Simon Coveney, in May 2016. He said the pace at which it would be delivered would take us by surprise. He certainly took us by surprise. It has not yet been delivered and will not be for another couple of years. In 2015 Deputy Alan Kelly announced a public private partnership to provide 534 houses. The successful tender was announced only yesterday and the houses will not be completed until 2020.

Above all is the farcical situation where local authorities must submit plans for any build that will cost more than €2 million to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. That is also the case with any development of more than ten houses and it takes nearly 50-odd weeks to deliver them. These bureaucratic delays at local authority level are farcical and mean that local authorities have an inability to get schemes off the ground.

Does the Taoiseach accept that there is a fundamental gap between ministerial announcements and delivery and will he explain the absence of delivery across the board? Does he accept that we are facing an emergency?

I know that the issue of housing is of huge concern to people across the country and that many will express that concern by attending the protest today. I know that many people are frustrated by the pace of delivery. I, too, am frustrated by it, as is everyone in government. We all understand and share those concerns and frustrations and the desire to get results much more quickly. The Government is investing huge resources and amounts of time in the issue. It is determined to get on top of it and resolve the housing crisis.

People often ask what the Government is doing to deal with the problem. I could speak for hours about all of the actions and measures that are under way. I will mention the five main ones.

The biggest social housing programme in decades is under way. It will provide more than 100,000 houses in the next ten years, including 8,000 this year alone. People on housing lists will receive the keys to new homes this year and more will receive them next year.

The supply of new homes for people to buy is being accelerated. About 20,000 new houses and apartments will be built this year, up from 15,000 last year and 10,000 the year before. There will probably be 25,000 built next year. There is an acceleration of home building all around the country. Behind the figure of 20,000 new houses and apartments are 20,000 families - men, women and their kids - who are moving into new homes for the first time. There are more people renting than ever before and because of this the Government has passed new laws to strengthen the rights of tenants. It has brought in rent caps in urban areas to stop the spiralling, double digit rent increases, but there is more to be done in that area. The laws need to be tightened further and enforcement needs to be improved. That is exactly what the Government intends to do.

In the past couple of years the Government has focused on the issue of rough sleeping. The latest count shows that the number who are rough sleeping is down by 40%. That was not by accident. It happened because the Government had worked with NGOs and charities to get people off the streets, place them in secure accommodation and ensure they would have wraparound supports to deal with other issues related to health, addiction and family breakdown in order that they would not end up on the streets again. We are seeing progress in that regard.

The Land Development Agency has been established. People ask why the Government does not use State-owned lands to build housing. That is exactly what it is doing. It is public land and taxpayers' money that will be used to provide housing for everyone in society. There will be a mix of social housing, affordable housing, cost rental accommodation and houses for purchase.

All of these things are under way. I appreciate that we are playing catch-up, but we are catching up. I understand people's frustration that things are not happening more quickly, but we are determined to ensure they will happen and happen more quickly.

I asked the Taoiseach if he thought it was an emergency and that we were in a crisis. I also asked him to explain the absence of delivery across a range of schemes that his Government had announced in the past four years that had not been delivered. If we are in an urgent crisis, as we are, the simplest problem to tackle is the inexplicable delay in the approval of housing schemes submitted by local authorities to the Department of the Communications, Climate Action and Environment. It takes about 59 weeks. Anything that will cost over €2 million has to be sent to Dublin. Why is the Government paying the CEOs of local authorities? Why is it paying whole teams in the housing departments of local authorities? Given the urgency of the issue, it should be telling local authorities to build 500 houses and get it done. It could be audited afterwards, but this is an emergency, a crisis. It is beyond belief that housing schemes in Kilnamanagh submitted 12 months ago are still awaiting approval in principle from the Department in the legendary four-stage process. Does anybody in government get it? Does anybody in officialdom get it? Every Deputy knows people who call in every week, in desperation, knowing that there will be no house for them in three or four weeks' time when they will be evicted, yet there are these long, unacceptable delays. They should not have to be sent to the Department, given the emergency we are in.

Will the Taoiseach explain the Poolbeg development which was announced by the Tánaiste, Deputy Simon Coveney, in 2015. He said the pace with which it would be delivered would surprise us.

The public private partnership for the supply of social housing was announced by Deputy Alan Kelly in 2015.

The Deputy has made his point. Time is up.

The tender was announced yesterday. Will the Taoiseach explain it? No one believes the announcements for the next five or ten years, given what happened with previous ministerial announcements. That is a fair point. No one can attach any credibility to what has been said will happen in the future, given that the announcements made in the past did not deliver.

Maybe if an emergency was declared, Fianna Fáil would vote for it next time, for God's sake.

It is an emergency. I am on record as having said that as far back as January or February of this year, if not long before that. Of course it is an emergency. If it was not an emergency, we would not be spending €60 million a year to put people up in emergency accommodation, we would not have brought in rent caps in urban areas and we would not have brought about fast-track planning. They were all emergency measures brought in because this is an emergency. Calling it an emergency does not actually solve the problem. What solves the problem is building houses and new homes and apartments that people can live in. That is where there is delivery. If we look at the facts, nearly 20,000 new homes and apartments will be built this year. That is up from 15,000 last year and 10,000 the year before. Before Christmas, 20,000 new homes will have been built this year and 50,000 or 60,000 people will have been given the keys to a new house. They can then live in those homes and free up accommodation for others. That is real delivery. The truth is that there are rate-limiting factors. There is only so much concrete in the country and only so many serviced sites and construction workers. There also has to be a planning process. We are ramping things up as quickly as we can. Again, to look at the numbers, when we started on this programme, less than 10,000 homes were being built. We then had 15,000 last year and we will have about 20,000 this year and 25,000 next year.

I do not know who is counting.

This afternoon, thousands of people will gather outside these gates to take a stand against the housing and homelessness crisis. This is no stunt. These are people who have studied and who live the facts. These are people taking a stand against the fact that the policies of the Government have left almost 10,000 people homeless. They are raising their voices and recording their deep outrage that almost 4,000 of those are children in emergency accommodation. How is that for a fact? These are people taking a stand against rents that are out of control and continuing to rise. They are expressing their anger that owning a home is now beyond the reach of ordinary working people, particularly younger people. These people, having studied and lived the facts, are telling the Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government that enough is enough. They are demanding meaningful action now.

Later today, we will debate a cross-party motion which calls on the Government to officially declare the housing crisis an emergency. The Taoiseach should do that. He should accept that we face an emergency and then act accordingly. Our motion calls for a dramatic increase in the number of social and affordable homes. This must happen. Next week's budget must mark a step change in tackling the housing emergency. The Taoiseach and his partners in Fianna Fáil need to get their heads around that and understand that more of the same simply will not cut it. The Government must double capital investment in housing and social housing. That is what we in Sinn Féin propose and what tonight's motion calls for. It is also what those outside the gates today will demand.

We need delivery of 10,000 real social houses next year, as recommended by the Committee on Housing and Homelessness. We need affordable housing. The Government has not delivered one affordable home in three years and has no affordable housing targets for next year. That is some fact. We propose the delivery of 4,500 affordable homes. We must call a halt to the rental crisis. We propose the introduction of a temporary tax relief for renters and a three-year emergency rent freeze.

These are just some of the measures required on budget day and the Government can deliver them. Alternatively, it can continue to live in its fool's paradise. The Government and Fianna Fáil can fool themselves, but they will not fool the people who are gathering at the gates. I ask the Taoiseach, as Head of Government, to officially declare a housing and homeless emergency and support the joint party motion which will come before the House today.

I have acknowledged before that the country faces a housing crisis. I acknowledged many months ago that this is an emergency and because it is an emergency, we have taken emergency actions. Some €60 million is being spent this year on providing emergency accommodation for people who need it, so that they have a roof over their heads. Emergency powers have been brought in to fast-track planning. This is now working, with big developments getting through planning much more quickly. There are measures to control the rising cost of rents, which had not been done for decades. I am not sure what the Deputy means by declaring an emergency. Does she mean suspending the Constitution? Does she mean ending civil liberties?

The Government should double capital investment.

A declaration of something does not build any houses or change any policies. It does not provide any resources. In many ways, that sums up the Sinn Féin policy on housing.

It just sums up-----

It is to make declarations and speeches, and to play politics-----

(Interruptions).

-----but not to put forward solutions that are workable or, in many cases, affordable.

(Interruptions).

The Taoiseach must be allowed to speak.

Sinn Féin has no credibility on housing. Let us not forget that, according to the Simon Community, 200,000 people are homeless in Northern Ireland. I appreciate there are different ways of counting homelessness but 200,000 is a lot of people. We see Sinn Féin councillors all over the country voting down social and affordable housing proposals, including on Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council.

That is not true.

That is very true.

In Northern Ireland, where there is a housing crisis, Sinn Féin walked out of office over a renewable heat initiative and will not go back in.

We have to appoint Tom Feely as building tsar.

In councils all around the country, Sinn Féin votes down social and affordable housing-----

-----because the truth is that Sinn Féin does not want to solve this problem but wants it to get worse because it believes it can benefit from it politically.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

That is a real shame.

I will tell the Taoiseach what we should do. Let us go out to the people at the gate in an hour's time.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Let us test whose credibility is in question on the issue of housing and homelessness. It is not mine.

It is the credibility of the Taoiseach, Deputy Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil as a party.

We can test everything during elections.

People know who the authors of this catastrophe are and they know it is not Sinn Féin. Far from acting as if we are in an emergency, the Taoiseach has been timid and a lackey to private landlords. He has sat on the sidelines in the vain hope that the market will sort it all out, even though all of the evidence tells him that the market is not sorting this out, that the State has to do the heavy lifting and that any Government worthy of the name needs to intervene in an emergency fashion. That means doubling capital investment, being bold, having ambition and ditching the Government's pathetic excuse for dealing with rent control and introducing a rent freeze. It means ensuring that the Government stops the despicable practice of landlords turfing families out to get vacant possession on properties that the State assisted these people to buy. It must stop that.

The Deputy's time is up.

The Taoiseach knows which amendment I am referring to. That is what the Government needs to do. If he is prepared to do that, he should say so and, if not, he should make that clear. Let us then go out to the gate and we will test who has the credibility problem.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

As is so evident, Sinn Féin's only interest when it comes to housing-----

Why not go out to the gate?

-----is to exploit this issue for political gain and try to turn it into a party political issue. That is what it is seeking to do today in the Chamber and no doubt that is what it will seek to do outside the House today. We have heard the charge again that the Government or Fine Gael has some ideological objection to social housing-----

When it suits the private landlords.

-----and that we believe the market provides all the solutions. That is a political charge. I expect to hear political charges from Sinn Féin but I am disappointed to hear it from others. That charge is absolute bunkum. This is a housing crisis and an emergency. In a crisis or an emergency, one tries to provide new homes as quickly as possible by any mechanism one can find.

That could be building houses, buying them, leasing them or renovating them. It could be done through local authorities-----

What about social housing?

-----approved housing bodies or through private developers. It can be social, affordable, cost rental or for purchase. The real ideologues are the people who think there is only one way to provide housing and only one mechanism that is legitimate.

This is a crisis. This is an emergency, and therefore we will try to provide new homes and apartments throughout the country by any and all mechanisms possible, as quickly as possible. That is our policy and that is why we will build 20,000 new homes and apartments this year in Ireland, more than in any other year this decade.

I fully agree with Deputy McDonald that the crowds outside the gate today are serious in supporting the motion that will be brought before the House in the afternoon, which has support across many parties but not all parties in this House because there is an ideological difference between them. What the protest does have is the support of a coalition of forces from all of the NGOs dealing with housing, all of the trade unions, all of the smaller political parties, all of the housing associations and many academics and other bodies. It would be worth the Taoiseach's while listening to that message.

Fifty years ago this month the civil rights movement in Derry took to the streets. It brought out caravans and barricades and blocked the streets in protest over the right to housing and it got the right to housing. Those on the Taoiseach's side of the House who say protests do not build houses are wrong. They do, because if people keep protesting and keep making sure that people power is in the face of the ruling elite, then it will listen. We are going to make sure this movement is heard. I refer to the Take Back the City movement, the Homeless and Housing Coalition and others. We will make sure the Taoiseach listens and that protests will build houses.

A week ago the Taoiseach seemed unable to finish a statement in response to my colleague, Deputy Barry. In the exchange the Taoiseach said he believed this side of the House divided people and created walls between those who pay for everything and who do not qualify for anything, and those who, but he could not finish the sentence. He got a bit flustered and he sat down. That was good spin and good drama training that made him sit down. I will tell him what he was going to say. It was those who pay for nothing and expect everything for free. He was referring to people who live in social housing. I grew up in a social housing estate, as I am sure many other Deputies did. We paid our rent. We paid a differential rent according to the income that came into the house. Nobody expects a home for free. We grew up in an area where people worked as bus drivers, post office workers, nurses, cleaners, soldiers, the whole nine yards of society. It was not a ghetto. We are not about creating ghettoes.

I wish to ask the Taoiseach a serious question. I also want to ask it of Deputy Micheál Martin. Will they instruct the Deputies in their parties who are landlords either to support the motion this afternoon or to abstain? There are at least 30 Deputies who are landlords and who benefit in no small measure from the subsidies that have grown to a shocking €700 million this year, almost €1 billion, and probably rising. Those who watch these things are forecasting that the subsidies to landlords will reach €1 billion next year. All those Deputies in this House who are landlords, who therefore have a vested interest, and who do not support the motion should abstain. Otherwise, there is a conflict of interests that is immoral and does not fit with any pretence that they give a damn about the homelessness crisis in this city.

Protest is part of democracy. Provided the protest is lawful and peaceful then it is welcome. I have no objection to anyone taking part in protests to highlight important issues that affect society, because they highlight issues and spur us on to do more to deal with them. That is my view on that. Any protest that is peaceful and lawful should be welcomed in a democracy, and I do.

What the Deputy tried to do was a classic fallacy. If I did it, no doubt people would call it spin, but it is not spin. It is a fallacy. It is an attempt to put words in other people's mouths, to finish their sentences or to do what they often do, namely, to tell us what we think, as if they knew. It is just classic fallacy.

As Deputy Bríd Smith rightly pointed out, what I was describing was her politics, which is to divide people. We do not want to do that. We want to create communities. We want integrated housing and we want housing for everyone in society. People who are on housing lists need social housing and people who want to buy their own homes should be able to do so. The average person buying his or her own home in Ireland is in his or her mid-30s, which should not be the case. People should be in their 20s, as was the case in the past. I lead a Government that believes in home ownership and we want to make sure that more and more people can buy their own homes, and in particular that people in their 20s can afford to do so again. That is the reason we are doing what we are doing.

As I said earlier, we have put in place the biggest social housing programme in decades. More than 100,000 social houses are to be provided over the next ten years. This year alone we will increase the social housing stock by 8,000. People will move into those homes this year with their families. We are building more homes for people to purchase. A total of 20,000 new houses and apartments will be built in Ireland this year, up from 15,000 in 2017 and 10,000 in 2016. We will build more new houses and apartments in Ireland this year than any year in the past ten years, and we intend to build even more thereafter. The solution is to build homes of all types because everyone in society deserves to have a roof over their head, and that is what we want to achieve.

The ideologues and the people who are wedded to particular political philosophies are not us. We are the ones who want to build new homes as quickly as possible, and we will do so by any mechanism we can find.

It is a long time since I heard the phrase classic fallacy. It is not often used. If I am guilty of a classic fallacy then I must be very rare because the phrase is not used very often. I wish to respond to the notion that we are attempting to divide. The Deputy tripped up in his discussion with Deputy Barry last week, and in the past. Deputy Boyd Barrett told me that in an exchange with him the Taoiseach clearly said that people cannot expect housing for free. I do not believe Fine Gael and the ruling elite understand what social housing is. It is about the State providing a safe, affordable roof over the heads of the population. That is not happening. I am constantly being texted and contacted by people who are about to be evicted from private rented accommodation. Part of this afternoon's motion is that there should be no evictions into homelessness. If the Taoiseach does not support that, then he is an ideologue. In fact, I know he is an ideologue but he will prove it this afternoon when he refuses to support the motion.

Will the Taoiseach please address my question? Will he instruct his Deputies who are landlords and who have a conflict of interest because of the massive subsidies being paid in the rental accommodation scheme, RAS, the housing assistance payment, HAP, and other leasing arrangements to the landlord class in this country not to vote in this motion?

They are not getting HAP.

They are compromising themselves, the Fine Gael Party and the Fianna Fáil Party when they do so.

I do not believe the Deputy is an ideologue, I believe she is a populist. Populists present easy answers to complex problems. They replace emotion with reason and they try to demonise and misrepresent their opponents. What Deputy Bríd Smith is trying to do here is a classic example of that.

It is a classic ideologue fallacy.

I lead a Government that contains at least two Cabinet members who grew up in a council home and they are proud to have done so. I also lead a Government that perhaps includes people who are landlords. We should bear in mind that landlords who receive rent supplement and HAP are not receiving subsidies. They are receiving payments that provide housing for people who need it, and until such a time as we can build enough social housing to replace that, it will be necessary.

There is a limit to the number of houses that can be built in any one year. We will increase the social housing stock this year by 8,000, but there will still be tens of thousands of people who will need to be accommodated in the meantime. That is why we use mechanisms such as rent supplement and HAP. It is not a subsidy, it is paying the rent for people who cannot afford to pay the rent themselves, and that is a good thing.

I reiterate the message put forward by my colleagues in the House today and express my own outrage at the Government's persistent neglect of its citizens when it comes to what should be viewed as a basic, fundamental human right, namely, the right to housing.

I also reiterate what the UN special rapporteur, Leilani Farha, stated in her letter in The Irish Times, which was signed by 50 other housing rights experts.

The letter states that:

the current crisis is the manifestation of deep structural problems in housing policy and the philosophy that underpins it. Unless there is a radical change, we believe the crisis will simply deepen and worsen.

It calls for a rights-based approach to the housing situation and a referendum to enshrine the right to housing in the Constitution in order to change fundamentally and radically the Fine Gael policy which has led to nearly 10,000 people being homeless in Ireland today.

As the Taoiseach is aware, I recently introduced the Thirty-Seventh Amendment Of The Constitution (Economic, Social And Cultural Rights) Bill 2018 which seeks to enshrine rights to housing, healthcare and education and many other rights in our Constitution. It is the third time I have introduced the Bill which has twice been voted down by the Government and Fianna Fáil. It would support the concept of housing as a fundamental right alongside other rights which would facilitate healthy, sustainable life within the home, something every person in this country deserves. Enshrining the right to housing and associated economic, social and cultural rights would adequately and consistently defend the individual's right to housing rather than leaving him or her at the mercy of the ideological preferences of the Government of the day. The Bill would provide a mechanism to break down those structural problems by bringing about a human rights-based approach to service provision which would be defendable in the courts. As 83 constitutions in countries around the world include such provisions, it should be possible to pass such legislation in this State.

Fine Gael's reliance on the private market and refusal to intervene has led to private interests being prioritised over the needs of individuals in this State. If our Constitution was fully rights-proofed, we would not be in this situation whereby half a million people are currently deprived of adequate housing and many more will be in the years to come. Homelessness is not normal or a market correction. It results from a choice made by this Government which facilitates an unhealthy relationship with private market interests. Will the Taoiseach enact a human rights-based approach to the housing crisis? Will he support the call for the right to housing and associated economic, social and cultural rights to be enshrined in the Constitution?

Housing is recognised as a human right in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which this country signed up many decades ago. I have an open mind on inserting economic, social and cultural rights into our Constitution but we must be careful about adding to the Constitution. I refer to the difficulties we went through in removing the eighth amendment and the ban on divorce.

It is shameful to compare the housing crisis to those issues.

When adding to the Constitution, one must get the wording right and at least try to understand how it may be interpreted by the courts in two, ten, 20 or 30 years time. As Deputy Pringle rightly pointed out, 83 countries have a statutory right to housing. In some cases, that is provided for in the constitution of the country. Each of those countries has a level of homelessness which may be better or worse than that in Ireland. In many of the countries, some people live in shanty towns. Enshrining a right in legislation does not necessarily solve the problem. I am sure the Deputy is aware of the situation in Scotland, where the statutory right to housing was written into law in 2012. Some people believe we should do likewise. Although housing numbers fluctuate, the housing list in Scotland is as long now as it was in 2012. Homelessness there declined initially, but is now rising.

A simple amendment to legislation or enshrining some wording in our law or Constitution does not provide homes for people to buy------

It would be a statement of intent.

------or make rent cheaper. We need practical solutions and that is what we are doing. The biggest social housing programme in decades is now under way. Some 100,000 social homes will be provided over the next ten years, with 8,000 provided this year and 7,000 last year. Some 20,000 new houses and apartments, many of then in my constituency, have been built across the country this year, up from 15,000 last year and 10,000 the year before. The solution is to build more homes of all types for people to live in. That is what must be done. The people restricting that are those who profess the ideology that there is only one way to build housing. This is an emergency and we will provide housing any way we can, by building, renovating, buying or leasing and through private, public and approved housing body development of social, affordable and other housing. We need more houses to be quickly delivered. I wish that those raising this issue would stop blocking such provision.

We do not need unaffordable houses.

Deputy Pringle should stop laughing.

I am amazed by the Taoiseach's response which exemplifies why we need to enshrine the right to housing in our Constitution. It shows that he has no knowledge of or empathy towards those who depend on the State to step in and be the provider of last resort for housing. The Taoiseach referred to 8,000 social houses being provided this year. Where are they? I ask that the list of those houses be provided to every Member of the House. I guarantee it does not exist. It is an example of the lies which the Government has been coming out with when the issue of housing is brought up.

The Taoiseach associated housing with the repeal of the eighth amendment. The two are in no way connected. Enshrining the right to housing in the Constitution will not provide houses, but it would put the responsibility on the Government to solve the problem and provide the houses that are needed instead of publishing make-believe lists. We know that the 8,000 houses referred to by the Taoiseach have not been provided. If they have, I ask the Taoiseach to circulate the list to all Members of the House so that we can see where those homes have been built.

The list is available online in the quarterly construction report.

Only 16 social houses were provided in Dublin in the first half of this year.

As the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, pointed out, that list is online.

Where is it available?

I acknowledge that not all of the 8,000 properties are houses directly built by local authorities.

The Taoiseach is agreeing that 8,000 houses have not been delivered.

Some were built by affordable housing bodies such as the Iveagh Trust, which has been providing housing in Dublin for decades or centuries, but the Opposition-----

The Taoiseach initially stated that 8,000 social houses were built.

------do not count such houses. Some of the houses were bought directly from developers. Many people in my constituency received social housing that was bought directly from a developer in places such as Waterville. However, to the Opposition such housing provision does not count.

The Taoiseach's reference to 8,000 social houses is accurate.

Many people are living in houses with long-term 20 or 30 year leases and have secure tenancies. None of that counts for some members of the Opposition, but it counts for the people living in those houses. I have handed over the keys to people moving into new homes such as those. Those people are not ideological about the mechanism used to provide the houses. Rather, they care about having a home in which to live.

Deputy Pringle acknowledged that a constitutional right to housing will not provide housing. He is correct in that regard. He stated that such constitutional provision would make it the responsibility of the Government to deal with this problem. We accept that it is the responsibility of the Government to deal with this problem. That is why we are doing what we are doing.

What the Government is doing is wrong.