Local Fine Gael TD James Bannon has criticised the Government’s Rural Resettlement scheme which would relocate hundreds of Dublin families to vacant homes in rural Ireland to ease the burden on the capital’s housing stock.
“This proposed scheme arises directly as a result of the failure of the Labour Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and the Dublin Local Authorities to provide housing for those in need of housing in Dublin.
“Why should counties like Longford and Westmeath, which already have high waiting lists for social housing, take in Dublin families because their own local authorities failed to adequately provide for housing them? This is another example of the Midlands being disregarded and other counties problems being dumped on our doorstep.”
Deputy Bannon went on to claim that if the scheme is initiated, large numbers of homeless people from Dublin will be relocated to the Midlands in order to make further room for affluent people in Dublin.
“Longford has already experienced social and criminal problems visited upon the county by families exported from their native environment in the City of Dublin to previously quiet towns and villages. “These plantations have caused hardship and social disruption to the existing communities and indeed to those families who have been uprooted from their Urban environment into rural areas.
“The suggestion that the programme will be voluntary is entirely disingenuous in circumstances where the Local Authorities in Dublin have failed to provide the housing at all in the first place. “
He added that Dublin is booming but the “ same cannot be said of rural areas such as my part of the midlands. Instead of addressing the deprivation in my area, unnamed officials in the Department of the Environment are reported to be considering visiting further deprivation on my area by bringing possibly thousands more deprived people into the area. “
“The State have previously failed to consult local public representatives in relation to resettlement programmes and in that regard I refer to the recent announcement of a refugee centre in Longford without any prior consultation with Public representatives from the area.
“When the Dail returns I will be calling on the Government to rein in those considering this politically destructive scheme. The answer to the problem is to show the political courage to resettle some of the prosperity in Dublin to rural areas and for Dublin to deal with its needy people in Dublin just as we deal with our needy in our communities throughout rural Ireland.”