Archive for August, 2012

Abbey Talks: Other Voices
O’Casey and Politics; this time it’s personal

Richard Boyd Barrett (T.D.) talks about ideology in the life and the work of Sean O’Casey
Booking Details
Thursday 9th August, 6.30pm
Tickets €3 / Free to Members – OReilly Theatre (main stage)


NAMA social housing plan just another scam to use public money to pay off developers and speculators debtsPromised 2000 social units pathetic against background of 230,000 empty homes and vicious cuts in housing support.

In a statement Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance, has said that the plan announced by NAMA in relation to social housing is “another scam where public money will be used to pay off the debts of developers and speculators.”

He also described as “pathetic” NAMA’s promise of delivering 2000 dwellings for social housing when there were 96,000 families on social housing lists in the country, dramatic cuts being implemented in funding for social housing support, and against a background of 230,000 empty homes in the country.

 Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This is yet another outrageous scam and rip-off of the public being dressed up as some sort of good news story. The reality of this plan is that public money will be used to pay-off the gambling debts of developers and speculators.

Instead of the empty housing units that are now in the hands of NAMA, developers and Bankers being transferred directly into the public ownership, the public is going to pay to lease houses from NAMA developers, so they can pay-off their gambling debts.

Incredibly, at the end of the process when these gambling developers and speculators have paid-off their debts with public money they will retain ownership of the houses and apartments and the public will have nothing to show for it.

In the meantime, the scandalous situation where in the region of a half a billion a year in public money is forked out to private landlords is now set to worsen. The government’s new policy of outsourcing and privatising social housing provision through these lease arrangements means that even more public money will be forked out every year to private landlords and developers

It is also very worrying that these cow-boy developers or non-public bodies may now end up managing social housing estates, in a situation where they would have a financial incentive to cut corners on the maintenance, up-keep and quality of the housing. This is potentially a recipe for a new era of slum landlordism

It is also simply pathetic that the best NAMA can offer is 2000 social housing units when we have 96,000 families on the housing lists, when funding for housing support is being drastically cut-back, when homelessness is on the rise, yet there are 320,000 empty houses in the country.

The alternative to this scandalous and stupid policy is to directly transfer tens of thousands of empty housing units now in the hands of NAMA or state-financed banks directly into local authority ownership to provide council housing. There is a world of difference between council housing and so-called “social” housing. If the state directly provides council housing to all those on the housing list they not only provide housing to desperate families who are now waiting up to 13 years on the list but they will also save the half a billion a year in public money currently being used to subsidise private landlords. This would also generate a further quarter of a billion a year in extra revenue to the state in council rent and the state rather than private developers would own the houses.

Quite simply, the government’s policy makes no sense whatsoever, other than being yet another bail-out for the gamblers and speculators who have wrecked our economy.”