Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says government doesn’t recognise the urgency of rental crisis for mica-affected families

Pringle says government doesn’t recognise the urgency of rental crisis for mica-affected families

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has again pressed Government on how it will address the rental crisis facing mica-affected households in Donegal.

Addressing the Taoiseach in the Dáil today during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Pringle said: “7,700 properties are lying vacant in Donegal, while 2,646 families are on the housing list in the county. There is no doubt that there is a direct link between dereliction and this current housing crisis in this country.

“There is also no doubt that the whole ‘us versus them’ narrative is one that has been fuelled by your government, unfortunately. And for this I think you should be ashamed.

“There is no reason why we couldn’t house all those who are on the housing list in Donegal, as well as displaced refugees and all those affected by the mica crisis as well, who are required to live elsewhere while their own houses are being rebuilt,” he said.

The deputy said: “I have been saying this for a while now, but we seriously need to figure out what we are going to do about the many families who will be displaced due to mica. As time ticks on and the redress scheme is put in place, I am anxious that there will be hundreds of displaced families in Donegal over the coming years.”

He said he had been contacted by a family with a 7-year-old child with a disability who said: “The possibility of us finding a rental property with wheelchair accessibility is going to be non-existent and a mobile home is going to be completely out of the question for us in our situation.”

Deputy Pringle said: “Unfortunately, this is only one of many mica families who have contacted me regarding their anxiety of finding rental accommodation whilst dealing with a mica crisis, during a housing crisis and a cost-of-living crisis.”

The deputy said: “I know of many people in Donegal who have offered their accommodation to Ukrainian refugees and who were refused. Is there no way that we could set up a system to allow these people to offer their accommodation to mica families who need temporary accommodation while their houses are rebuilt?”

He asked: “What is the government going to do to address the rental crisis faced by displaced mica families in Donegal?”

In his response, the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said the minister will meet with the Donegal County Council chief executive next week to discuss a range of issues, and the mica scheme is one for the long haul. The Taoiseach said about 300 mica-affected homes have been identified now as needing major works, and said the Government is working to get more supply into the housing market and on getting them built as fast as they can.

Deputy Pringle said: “I think maybe you don’t recognise the urgency of the situation.” He said even if 300 houses are repaired a year, that means 300 families in need of housing.

He asked: “Where are they going to be housed?” and added, “You should be buying sites and earmarking sites and servicing sites now for temporary accommodation for people, because when this happens it’s too late then to be looking for it.”

The deputy said: “The problem is, families can’t get anywhere to rent. In my end of the county, you can’t get a house to rent. Families on housing lists can’t get a house to rent – it’s not possible,” he said.

He said he hoped the minister will address these issues when he meets with the council chief executive next week: “This needs to be addressed and needs to be addressed urgently.”