“Pressure Works!” – Carthy welcomes expansion of Monaghan Minor Injuries Unit

“Pressure Works!” – Carthy welcomes expansion of Monaghan Minor Injuries Unit


Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has welcomed confirmation he has received from the RCSI that the Minor Injuries Unit at Monaghan Hospital will have expanded opening hours from 1st November and will be operational from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.


Deputy Carthy has demanded seven-day a week, long hours, services to be provided at the Minor Injuries Unit since his election to the Dáil in 2020.  He said that the news of expanded hours is welcome but that the commitment to provide for weekend openings must be expedited.  He also said that charges for use of the service must be abolished.


Teachta Carthy this week said:


“For too long the Minor Injuries Unit at Monaghan Hospital has been operating just 5 days a week from 9am to 5pm, by far the shortest opening hours of any MIU in the state.


“Since my election to the Dáil I have prioritised the expansion of this unit as a pivotal first step in the restoration and development of services at Monaghan Hospital.  I welcome therefore the confirmation I have received from the RCSI that, from 1st November, the unit will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.  It is also expected that the service will expand further to allow for weekend openings next year.  This shows once again that pressure works.


“I thank the Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, David Cullinane, for placing on the record of the Dáil a commitment on the part of Sinn Féin for the expansion of the Monaghan Minor Injuries Unit.  This is in stark contrast to the Fianna Fáil Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, who has refused to engage at all on this issue, insisting that it is an operational matter.


“The truth is that Monaghan Hospital has never recovered from the scandalous decisions of previous Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments to remove services.  Those decisions have led to the fierce ongoing pressures on Emergency departments in Drogheda and Cavan Hospitals.  Coupled with the strain on GP services in the county it has led to many negative experiences for Monaghan people accessing healthcare.


“I have always stated that the expansion of the Minor Injuries Unit can be a crucial first step in the restoration and development of services at our hospital.  I urge people from across Monaghan to use the Unit when required in order to build momentum in that regard.


“We in Sinn Féin will continue to press the government to abolish the charges for presentations at the MIU in order to relieve pressure further from our GP services and Emergency departments”.



Carthy speaks to SF motion demanding supports for families facing huge energy bills

Carthy speaks to SF motion demanding supports for families facing huge energy bills


Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy spoke in the Dáil last week to a Sinn Féin motion which demanded greater supports for families facing huge electricity bills.  The motion called for an extension of protection from electricity disconnection and for the protection to those on pay-as-you-go meters.


Addressing Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, Deputy Carthy said:


“A text message that I received yesterday asked me to raise an issue in the House in the discussion on pay-as-you-go meters.  It states:


“Can you bring it up in the Dail, when they are discussing the Pay as you go meters, that the emergency credit with Electric Ireland is only €5 which comes off when you put another voucher in? It takes the €5 which cuts off after the €5 credit is used and cuts off, so if we don’t have at least €10 we have no electricity because you can only put €10 is the lowest we can put in. The meter takes the €5 and cuts off after the €5 credit is used up again.


“Minister, can you imagine €10, that you simply do not have towards the end of the week, being the difference when it comes to being able to make a meal for your family, put on a wash or even switch on a light, never mind a television or anything else that may be considered a luxury by this Government?


“We have to ask ourselves how we have come to the point where the Government and its Ministers, particularly those from the Green Party, aided and abetted, of course, by their colleagues, are willing to say with a straight face that the answer to this couple and others is that they should go to MABS, their community welfare officer or a local charity.  This is a working couple.  Both the woman who texted me yesterday and her husband work.


“The first thing for which the Minister needs to take responsibility is the actions and inactions of his Government in ensuring that we are suffering this electricity crisis in the first place. There are international factors, of course, but next Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the issuance of a joint statement of just nine EU member states that opposed the decoupling of gas and electricity prices.  To his shame, the signature of the Minister was on that letter.  He then had the audacity to come before the House on several occasions to state that the Government could not take action at domestic level because it had to happen at EU level even though he had been part of the problem in terms of securing EU support for decoupling and price caps and windfall taxes on energy companies.


“This motion provides the Minister with the route to change course. I urge him and his Cabinet colleagues to take the route it offers and provide a break for workers and families who desperately need one.”




Carthy again calls on government to address ‘cruel’ Social housing income limits

Carthy again calls on government to address ‘cruel’ Social housing income limits


Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy has again told the Dáil that government action is urgently needed ‘to address the income limits in place for social housing applicants’.


Speaking during a Topical Issues debate with the Junior Housing Minister on the matter, Carthy outlined the hardship caused by the removal of families from Council Housing Lists because their income was above the very low limits.


Deputy Matt Carthy said:


“Many people are surprised to learn that social housing income limits are a relatively new concept.  They were introduced, to its shame, by a Labour Party Minister after the financial crash.  In my view they were introduced with a single purpose, namely, to reduce the number of people on local authority housing lists without having to go to the bother of actually providing them with homes.


“Previously, in order to be allocated a council house, applicants were awarded points that considered pertinent facts, such as the length of time waiting and current living conditions, taking into account issues such as overcrowding or medical needs.  Income was also a factor in determining how high on the list an applicant would be.


“Since the introduction of the limits, however, income has become not a consideration but a mechanism to prevent people from getting on the housing list at all.  The limits have become symbolic of a cruel housing policy enthusiastically embraced by this Government.  The fact that the limits have not been amended, apart from some minor exceptions, for more than a decade tells its own story.


“I have previously told the House of some of the outworkings of this policy –  such as the young single parent working in a low-paid job.  She is currently living in her parents’ home sharing a boxroom with her child and was provisionally offered a house last month.  Her joy can be imagined but after she completed the paperwork she was informed that she exceeded the income limit by €1,500 a year or €28 a week.  The offer of housing was withdrawn and, worse than that, she has now been removed from the housing list entirely meaning that should she reapply if her income reduces, she will go to the back of the queue.


“I have also told of numerous couples who have been removed from the housing list because one of them got a job.  It is essentially that.  In County Monaghan, a couple with two children cannot apply for social housing support if their earnings are more than €27,500 per annum.


“Not satisfied with this cruel policy, the Department has changed its position and now dictates that it has to be implemented as harshly as possible.  Income is considered across a 12-month period meaning a little summer overtime can result in removal from the housing list.


“The Minister committed to a review last autumn.  He has received that review but rather than proceeding to change the income limits the issue has been kicked off to the Housing Agency, which has been asked to scope and develop options for a revised or new housing income eligibility model.  It stands in stark contrast to the actions of the Government if it was told of a particular issue that was affecting an industry or a valued vested interest in the eyes of the Government.  As this is affecting people at the coalface who are bearing the brunt of the Government’s housing failures, it is delay after delay.


“I do not yet have any sense that anyone in the Government realises the absolute devastation these income limits are causing countless thousands of individuals and families.  I hope the Minister of State can tell me that this scandal is about to end.”


Free houses?


Later in the debate, Deputy Carthy continued:


We need to set some things out in order to avoid any confusion.  Social housing tenants pay rent in direct proportion to their income.  Despite the impression that is sometimes given of free houses, there is no incentive for wealthy people to apply for a council house because they will probably pay more rent than they would in the private sector and certainly more than they would for a mortgage.


“As they currently stand, income limits are simply preventing people who will never qualify for a mortgage from accessing the alternative means of securing a permanent home.


“The Minister talked about the cost to the State of providing social housing.  Therein lies a cultural issue that goes to the very heart of the Custom House, which is this notion that people are getting charity when they are allocated a council house.


“They pay rent in direct proportion to their income.  When done right there is no cost to the State.  There is a substantial saving to the State because this year the geniuses who wrote this reply for the Minister are standing over the expenditure of more than €1 billion in private subsidies to landlords in order to cover up the debacle that has led to the overall housing crisis we have.


“The income limits are a small part but they are a cruel, harsh aspect of this policy in action. They are part of an overall policy that has led to the ghettoisation and demonisation of those who find themselves in need of housing support.  The Minister of State referred to a scoping exercise which is to be completed by the end of this year.  Will he give a commitment that action will be taken on that this year and there will be no further delays?”


Ministers response


Junior Housing Minister Malcolm Noonan concluded the debate.  In response to Matt Carthy he said:


“I agree wholeheartedly with Deputy Carthy in the sense that there is not a cost to the Exchequer.  It is an outlay and an investment by the Exchequer in the provision of social housing.  The Government has committed to and is front-loading record investment in social, affordable and cost-rental housing, more than any Government has provided in the history of the State.  The Minister is deeply committed to that through Housing for All.


“I fully agree that social housing is not charity.  Families pay rent.  It has been a very good model. The provision of social housing certainly declined in previous years and the State is playing catch-up and doing so at scale.  It is critically important that this Government and Governments in the coming decades continue to invest in social and affordable housing.


“The Minister has stated several times previously that he is committed to implementing these changes once the Housing Agency’s scoping report and review have been completed.  We recognise that the current models do not work and are not reflective of modern incomes and the modern needs of families.  There is a commitment by the Minister and we will continue with the investment in social housing in particular.  The State has done this very well through the decades. The phase we are implementing through Housing for All is a new one comparable with what happened in the 1940s and 1950s.  We can do this at scale and it is critically important that we do.  I give the Deputy a commitment, on behalf of the Minister, that this will be implemented.”


Carthy tells Taoiseach: ‘Eviction Ban needed now’

Carthy tells Taoiseach: ‘Eviction Ban needed now’


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, last week challenged Taoiseach Mícheál Martin to introduce an eviction ban in order to prevent homelessness during of the winter months.


Representing Sinn Féin during leaders questions, in the absence of Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy Carthy said that the 3,200 children who are currently homeless need immediate government intervention.  He said that if the emergency response to the pandemic justified an eviction ban, then the same should hold true in response to the current crises in housing and regarding rising homelessness figures.



Techta Carthy told the Dáil:


“Focus Ireland has published its annual report on homelessness and it makes for alarming reading.  The report states that rising homelessness in Ireland is not inevitable but rather it is the result of the wrong political decisions and that the crisis will only get worse this winter unless the Government acts now with urgency.


“The words of Focus Ireland founder, Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, capture the heartbreaking reality of this crisis.  She said:


‘“Over 3,200 children who are homeless do not have the luxury of time. Their childhoods are being stolen as homelessness is causing young people to lose out on the safety of a permanent home. This situation is unacceptable and must end. Much greater political leadership and commitment is urgently required if we are to overcome the challenges our society faces in ending homelessness.”’


“For two months in a row we have had record levels of homelessness reported.  Within a month or two, unless something drastic changes we will hit and exceed the shameful milestone of an official homelessness figure of 11,000 people.


“The human stories behind this figure are ones of real hardship.  These include families living in tents; children growing up in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation and not knowing the security of a place they can call home; and households transported and displaced out of their communities because there are no emergency accommodation places left in their counties.


“Approximately 60 families from Dublin are in emergency accommodation in Meath and Kildare and there are a further 60 individuals from Dublin in emergency accommodation in Kildare.


“The Government needs to act now and with real intent.


“Given the scale of the challenge that exists the budget was deeply disappointing.  There is no increase in social housing targets and the insufficient targets that are in place will not be met this year.  There was no funding for any new initiative to prevent the dramatic rise in homelessness.


“Even though the majority of those forced into homelessness are coming from the private rental sector there was no ban on evictions.  The truth is that without a significant change of direction in these areas we will see more families pushed into homelessness and into the nightmare of a winter without a secure roof over their heads.


“In the last week, the media have reported that the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has only started to liaise with the Attorney General about the feasibility of introducing a winter ban on evictions.  We saw during the pandemic that the State responded with emergency protections that safeguarded tenants.  We already know it is feasible because such an eviction ban was put in place as part of Covid measures.


“We see that the Scottish Government has already introduced an emergency winter ban on evictions from early September.  A similar eviction ban is required here and it has to be accompanied by an increase in the tenant in situ scheme.


“Instead, we hear that deliberations are at an early stage and that the Government has not yet agreed to introduce an eviction ban.


“Homelessness is spiralling out of control.  It is an emergency and the Government must deliver an emergency response.  I urge the Taoiseach to act urgently, change direction and immediately introduce a winter ban on evictions.  With better political choices the tide of homelessness and the crisis we are facing can be turned but the Government must start today.”


“Heart of society”


In his response Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that housing “goes to the heart of the kind of society we are and want to be”.  He claimed that the Government is very concerned with the increase in homelessness and it has a comprehensive suite of responses.


Deputy Carthy retorted:


“The Taoiseach said the homelessness issue goes to the heart of the type of society we want to be.


“What does it say about our society under his Government that homelessness figures are rising month on month and are now reaching what would be the horrendous scandal of a figure of 11,000?


“These are real people.  They are people’s sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and neighbours. The Taoiseach indicated the conditions need to be right.  What conditions precisely do we need to justify an eviction ban, considering those numbers?


“He indicated that during the Covid crisis, the conditions were right for an eviction ban.  I contend the conditions now are such that it is absolutely essential for an eviction ban to be put in place.


“Of course, an eviction ban is not the solution to the housing crisis.  The solution is to build houses.


However, in the here and now, I ask the Taoiseach again: will he ensure an eviction ban is put in place as a matter of absolute urgency?”


While An Taoiseach did not commit to a ban on evictions, media reports have since suggested that government may accede to the Sinn Féin demand, albeit for a shorter period than necessary and without the necessary accompanying ban on rent increases.


Carthy conveys sympathies to people of Cresslough in Dáil statements

Carthy conveys sympathies to people of Cresslough in Dáil statements – Matt Carthy TD


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, spoke on behalf of his party during statements in the Dáil on Tuesday following the horrendous tragedy that took place in Creeslough, Co. Donegal last Friday.


Carthy, who as MEP represented the area, conveyed the deepest sympathies of Sinn Féin to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy and to the wider affected community.  He paid tribute to those who assisted in the recovery operation.


Deputy Carthy said:


“Of course, there are no words that could properly express the heartbreak, pain and sorrow felt by so many.  Ten precious lives gone.  A small community devasted.


“The shock from this small village was felt across Ireland and beyond.  Irish people everywhere are stunned, many feeling that Creeslough could be our community, our place, our loved ones.


“Like many deputies I am very familiar with Creeslough, having family living close by and having the honour of representing the area as their MEP.  Creeslough is well known to people from across Ireland and further afield as many will have spent time there in what is one of the most beautiful places in the world.


“Until last Friday afternoon our enduring memories of Creeslough were happy ones, thoughts of a welcoming, friendly, community which made everyone feel at home.


“And, while the nation was shocked by the tragedy that has scarred that village forever, none of us were surprised by the instinctive reaction of those first on the scene.


“The response of the community in Creeslough has been immense.  Minutes after the explosion people came to help clear a path and secure the building so firefighters could get access.


“They did this without any thought to their own safety; local nurses stayed on the scene all night helping where they could, neighbours opened their doors to locals and strangers alike and small businesses went well beyond the call of duty to support all those who came to help.


“Fr John Joe Duffy has been an incredible leader in his community and our solidarity is with him as he leads his parish in the coming days.


“On behalf of Sinn Féin, I want to pay tribute to our emergency services, north and south – our Gardaí, our firefighters, civil defence, ambulance personnel, doctors and paramedics – some of whom put their own lives on the line throughout Friday night as the search continued.  The pain etched on their faces on Saturday evening as they talked about what had unfolded, the acts of bravery over many long hours as the search went on and the harrowing outcome.  What they did in Creeslough will never be forgotten, not in that small community or anywhere else in our land.


“Today the families of Jessica Gallagher and Martin McGill have the awful task of burying their loved ones.


“The unspeakable grief will continue this week as the families of Leona Harper,  Robert Garwe & little Shauna Flanagan Garwe, James O’Flaherty, Martina Martin, Hugh Kelly, Catherine O’Connell & James Monaghan will walk with their loved ones to their final resting place.


“Our thoughts and prayers are with you today and in the difficult days that lie ahead.


“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha”.


Concrete block levy cannot be allowed to proceed

Concrete block levy cannot be allowed to proceed – Matt Carthy TD


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that it is totally unacceptable that homeowners and buyers should be expected to foot the bill for the defective blocks scandal.


He said that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs must ensure that the government change course.  Last week in the Dáil a Sinn Féin motion, calling for the new levy to be scrapped, was defeated by those same deputies.  The levy, if introduced, will increase the cost of building a home during a housing and inflationary crisis.


Speaking during the Dáil debate, Deputy Carthy said:


“The twisted logic behind the decisions of this Government can often be mind-boggling but the defence of the concrete block levy we have just heard would send the head spinning.


“In the midst of a housing crisis that has merged with an inflationary crisis the Government is proposing a measure that will make houses more expensive.  They have essentially proposed a defective funding mechanism to pay for an under-funded defects remediation scheme that, by the Minister’s own admission, is going to cost ordinary workers, families and small businesses.


“This measure will mean houses will cost more.  Every expert in the field has reaffirmed that as a matter of absolute fact.  In fact, the Government is not disputing that but just claims the increase will be less than what those experts claim.


“This measure will mean fewer houses will be built.  That is especially the case in rural areas where many one-off building plans have already been shelved due to soaring costs.  For many more this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.


“This measure will result in job losses and company closures.  The bitter irony is that it is likely to be the concrete companies that have maintained high standards and did not and do not manufacture defective blocks that will be put into jeopardy as they compete with others who do not apply the same standards.


“As always, this Government has ignored the blight on this country that is the Border. Naturally, many of those building, especially in counties like my own, will travel North to purchase material that is not subject to this levy.  The Government has provided no insight as to how they will deal with imports from outside the island altogether, both in relation to standards and this levy.


“As a final point, I fear this measure will make farms unsafe and perhaps even unviable. Farmers are already under severe pressure due to increased costs and reduced Common Agricultural Policy supports and will simply forego plans to build slurry holding tanks, sheds or animal housing.


“I have listened over the past number of days to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael backbenchers whispering that they accept that this levy is a harebrained notion.  They now have their chance to stop whispering and start speaking up for the constituents by supporting the Sinn Féin motion and rejecting the Government amendment.”


Budget failed farmers & rural communities

“Budget failed farmers & rural communities” – Matt Carthy TD


Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has told the Dáil that the government’s budget failed to give people the certainty they deserved.


Deputy Carthy hit out at the failure of the budget to recognise, in particular, the challenges facing Irish family farmers.


Speaking during the budget debate in the Dáil, Carthy said:


“This budget has not given people the certainty they needed.  People on middle and low incomes who were worried about energy costs at the start of the week will are still going to be worried at the end of this week.  There is great concern across the board that we will see increases in rent in the coming months.


“It is incredible that, at a time there has been so much talk about the squeezed middle, 1.8 million workers will not get a single cent from the Government’s main tax proposal.


“In the midst of a health crisis, there is not a single additional acute bed delivered and the situation in housing is just as appalling.  This budget was about political choices and many of the choices the Government made were the wrong ones.


“Now, more than ever, we need a change in direction.  We need a fresh start, but the Government has failed to provide.


“Budget 2023 offers little for Ireland’s family farmers.  We heard all the rhetoric last week at the National Ploughing Championships but the Government has completely failed farming families in budget 2023.


“Behind all the repackaged announcements we have heard about from the Minister, the fact is that just €11 million of additional resources have been allocated to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, beyond what was pre-committed in non-core Brexit-related funding.


“Sinn Féin had outlined in our alternative budget a suckler farm payment of up to €300 per cow and calf pair.  We had provided for an increased sheep improvement scheme of €20 per ewe.  We had allocated an additional €25 million for farms in areas of natural constraint and €15 million of additional funding for organics. We had also provided for all of the non-core expenditure included in the Government’s figures.


“However, we had also provided for young farmers, including the so-called forgotten farmers, and had provided for key environmental measures through Exchequer funding that would allow farmers to deliver on climate action targets.


“The Government’s budget, on the contrary, will not provide sufficiently in any of those areas. It will mean little for our farming families.  At a time when farmers face multiple challenges from Brexit, rising input costs and climate obligations, this is clearly a budget from a Government that fails to recognise the scale of these challenges”.


Carthy expresses disappointment as government vote down amendments to reduce cost of fuel/ heating oil

Carthy expresses disappointment as government vote down amendments to reduce cost of fuel/ heating oil


In the first vote following the announcement of Budget 2023 Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, moved amendments to the Financial resolutions which would, if passed, have reduced the cost of petrol, diesel and home heating oil.


Moving the amendments on the night of the Budget, Deputy Carthy told the Dáil:


“I have to say that the commentary during today’s budget that probably caused workers to shake their heads today more than any other was that of the Minister Donohoe announcing that the carbon price hike of next month was to proceed as planned.  He placed a caveat on that by indicating that what Peter gives Paul will take away and that the other element of excise duty will reduce by a proportionate amount.


“I do not know if the Minister or the Government realise it, but fuel prices are still a significant factor in the lives of those families that are finding it difficult to make ends meet.  Many people still do not have any alternative option but to use their cars to drive to work, drop their children to activities or engage in their daily business.  Public transport options are not there, they do not have any prospect of being able to afford an electric vehicle.  Yet the Government has not provided the level of support that is warranted to those workers and families at any point.


“The measures the Government has introduced have been far too slowly introduced and they have been countered by the Government proceeding, against all logic, with carbon tax hikes. The Sinn Féin amendments will provide an opportunity for members of the Government, particularly for the backbench Deputies who have indicated that they recognise that the cost of petrol and diesel is still too high.  They can support our amendments which would see a further decrease of in and around 2 cent per litre on both petrol and diesel.


“Amendment No. 3 represents another opportunity for Members of Government to recognise that a huge proportion of our population, particularly those who live outside of our main urban centres, are reliant on home heating oil in order to heat their homes.


“Throughout this cost-of-living emergency, the Government has provided precisely zero supports to families who are in that position.  Once again Sinn Féin will move an amendment to remove excise duty in its entirety from home heating oil during this crisis period.  It would save the average family about €120 per tank, a support they desperately need.


“My appeal to Members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is to finally realise the pressures people are under with fuel and energy costs. Support our amendments to further the reduce the cost of petrol and diesel and to finally bring in a measure on home heating oil”.


Government moved a counter-motion which annulled the Sinn Féin amendments.  That motion was adopted by 85 votes to 67 with the support of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Independent TDs failing to support the reductions in fuel and home heating oil as advocated by Deputy Carthy and Sinn Féin.


Social Housing Incomes Limits denying Monaghan families any chance of their own home

Social Housing Incomes Limits denying Monaghan families any chance of their own home – Matt Carthy TD


The current income limits that apply are preventing thousands of individuals and families from ever securing housing supports, Deputy Matt Carthy told the Dáil last week.


He said that the limits in place in County Monaghan, the lowest in the state, meant that some people who were offered council housing tenancies subsequently had the offers withdrawn.  Deputy Carthy told the Housing Minister that a long promised review of the limits must be implemented and that flexibility must be included to allow for those who were on the brink of same.


Deputy Carthy told of one case he had recently dealt with, he said:


“The people in need of social housing supports do not want to hear about reports or promises.  They want to see the Government take action that has been long-promised in respect of income limit thresholds.  The income limits were introduced, in my view, as a measure simply to reduce the waiting lists.  In the interim, they have caused undue hardship to those people who are waiting for housing.


“My office advocated for a single parent who is working in a low-paid job.  She is currently living in her parents’ home, sharing a box room with her child.  She was provisionally offered a house this month, which was a huge relief.  She completed the paperwork only to be then told that she exceeded the income limits by €1,500 a year or €28 a week and the offer of housing was withdrawn.


“Worse than that, she has been removed from the housing list altogether and she was told that when she gets back on it if her income reduces, she will go to the back of the queue.


“That is a scandal that needs to be addressed.  We need to know when that scandal will be addressed”.


Ministers response


In a response on behalf of Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, junior Minister Malcolm Noonan, said:


“Housing For All was published in September 2021 and, as part of a broad suite of social housing reforms, committed to reviewing income eligibility for social housing.  The review, which examined inter alia the efficiency of the current banding model and income limits applicable to local authorities, has been completed.  Minister O’Brien recently approved implementation of its recommendations.  This included the commissioning of work to scope and develop options for a revised or new social housing income eligibility model.  This work will commence shortly under the aegis of the Housing Agency, which has been tasked with commissioning it.  It is expected that this work will be completed by the end of 2022.


“It is now appropriate to await the report I referred to before considering the appropriate income threshold levels for all counties and the potential impact of the changes that might arise.  The November 2021 report has been published – I am aware some Deputies have read it – and is available on our Department’s website. In a previous reply to a question by Deputy Naughten, the Minister, Deputy O’Brien, has given a commitment to looking at transitioning measures for families going over the threshold.  The Minister is not happy with the report but he is looking to the review of the Housing Agency and to have that completed by the year end.  We are conscious there is an absolute sense of urgency on this, as highlighted by the number of questions and the comments from the Deputies. Minister O’Brien is committed to resolving this and looking at those transitioning measures for families who might be just marginally going over the threshold in some areas.


Monaghan families locked in rental market


Deputy Carthy told the Ministers in attendance that the current limits mean that, for any couple seeking housing support, either one working prevents them from doing so.


He told the Dáil:


“I have lost count of the number of couples I have been working with who have been removed from the housing waiting lists because they exceeded limits by just a couple of hundred euro in some instances.


“The system as it applies to County Monaghan is designed so that any couple, of which a single party is working, will not make it onto the social housing waiting list.


“The income limit for County Monaghan for a family of two adults and two children is €27,500 per annum.  Those people will never qualify for a mortgage!  The prospect of private homeownership is not available to them.


“The Government has provided for precisely zero affordable homes in County Monaghan under the affordable housing scheme.


“What are we supposed to say to those families who fall into that trap?


“Should we tell them to rent forever and face the ever-increasing rent prices and costs?  Should they essentially remain nomadic for the rest of their lives?


“My appeal to the Minister of State is not only to review but to create a system so that flexibility can be allowed for those people who breach income limits that have been set too robustly up until this point.”


Urgent need for radical reform of retrofitting grant schemes

Urgent need for radical reform of retrofitting grant schemes – Matt Carthy TD

Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that the government’s retrofitting schemes discriminate against ordinary workers and families who cannot afford to avail of them.  Speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin Dáil motion on the subject this week he said that the current scheme often prevents those who have most to gain from retrofitting from actually receiving supports


Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget will, he said, include a significant increase in the retrofitting budget, and will crucially redirect the focus and resources of retrofitting to those living in energy poverty and in greatest need of energy efficiency upgrades.

Teachta Carthy said:

“The government’s current retrofit schemes are deeply inequitable; they prioritise wealthier households over those in greatest need.

“It excludes a huge cohort of households; those who don’t qualify for free upgrades, but also don’t have the significant cash reserves needed to access the One Stop Shop service.


“Sinn Féin advocate for a fair retrofit plan that will help meet our climate targets while also delivering wider social and economic benefits for workers and families.


“We are proposing to significantly increase the retrofitting budget for 2023, and to target that funding at the poorest, coldest, and most carbon intensive homes.

“Currently, those with adequate means can access €25,000 of taxpayer-funded grants for a deep retrofit, irrespective of their income, while the best that most people on lower incomes can hope for is a roll of subsidised attic insulation.

“The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme is aimed at the most vulnerable households, but there are now 9,000 people on that waiting list and the wait time is almost 27 months.

“Sinn Féin would replace the Better Energy Warmer Homes with a new scheme for low- and middle-income households with increased.

“This scheme would see free home energy upgrades for currently eligible social welfare recipients continue, but also introduce tiered grant support ranging from 65% to 100% funded deep retrofits for low and middle-income households, dependent on income.

“We would also increase the budget for local authority retrofits by 50% from €85m to €127.5m, as those in social housing are more likely to be at risk of energy poverty and therefore in greater need of home energy upgrades.


“Whereas the government’s approach to solid fuel homes is defined by punitive action, from turf bans to carbon tax hikes, Sinn Féin will help put the alternatives in place first.

“We propose a new €50m retrofitting scheme for homes that rely on solid fuels for heating, which will particularly benefit households in rural areas, improve health and air quality, while also reducing energy poverty.

“We would establish a Local Energy Action Fund that would provide €8m for Sustainable Energy Communities to fund local community-led group retrofits.

“Finally, we will be proposing a 75% increase in funding for the solar PV budget, bringing that budget up to €24.5m for 2023.

“We recognise that due to the high initial upfront cost of installing solar panels, even with the current grant, this option remains unaffordable for many people, specifically for those who would benefit the most from lower electricity bills.

“Therefore, we will restructure the funding of solar PVs by providing tiered supports, ranging from 100% to 10% of the cost depending on household income. This would help thousands more households install solar PV next year, bringing down their bills and emissions.

“In our Alternative Budget, Sinn Féin will be bringing forward a host of costed, climate action initiatives, that would both cut our carbon emissions and reduce energy poverty and inequality in our society.


“The approach of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green party to Climate measures has been punitive, unfair and counter-productive – we intend to change course by supporting families to make the transition.”



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