Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin visited Wicklow today, joined by Wicklow TD Pat Casey, to meet the public and discuss the ongoing issues affecting the county.
Wicklownews.net spoke with Micheál Martin at the Glendalough hotel today, who said social housing was a major issue for Wicklow.
“This is the worst housing crisis I’ve seen in my life” said Martin, who recently raised the issue of social housing to the Dáil. “Most young people can’t afford to buy homes, yet the Government are not getting to grips with the issue”.
TD Pat Casey said the Government’s reliance on private sector to build houses is further fueling the problem. “The council has only started building just at the end of last year. They only recently dug ground in Rathdrum, and those houses won’t be ready until 2019.”
Micheál Martin summed up the Government’s response to the housing crisis as “scandalous”.
It was revealed two weeks ago that the Wicklow social housing waiting list has risen to 2,601 people in 2017, an increase of 90 people from 2016.
When questioned about the HIQA reports released of alleged abuse in Sunbeam-ran residential care centres in Wicklow, he said its “extremely important that people will be accountable”.
“Although the HIQA reports can be harsh to read , they are necessary to maintain and uphold the standards required, and to make sure these services are correctly governed” he said.
Martin emphasised that both organisations and staff should be given a chance to defend themselves, and through the correct legal process, the parties in fault will be held accountable.
Pat Casey added that “the accountability has already started with these HIQA reports.”
Recent HIQA reports have shown there has been 96 incidents of physical or verbal abuse over three months in a Sunbeam House Services-ran facility in Ashford.
RTÉ reported on Tuesday that five staff from a different centre operated by Sunbeam House services in Wicklow have been put on paid leave, pending two investigations into allegations of abuse.