President Michael D Higgins has called for increase in social housing

President Michael D Higgins has called for an increase in social housing to help tackle the homeless crisis in Ireland.

Close to 7,000 people are in emergency accommodation and President Higgins believes that it’s imperative that the State increase social housing to help put a roof over people’s heads.

He said: “When I was a young councillor, I was elected first in 1974 to Galway County Council, local authorities were building houses.

“The State centrally and the State locally has to come back into the picture in a very strong way as a responsible housing manager.

“You equally have to say, as well that, you cannot rely on solving this problem as a residue of the private market.”

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail, President Higgins said : “The great news now is, one, that consciousness has increased – the second is the willingness of volunteers to come forward… and the generosity of the people.

“Lurking in the background is the idea of… If you are asked to make a choice between what are near absolute rights of property that are being claimed and the immediate necessary rights of people to live, I think people are trying their best.

“But you need to be able to sort this out and say, ‘You need lots of social housing.’”

Touching on the 1916 Centenary celebrations, Higgins reflected on how people have been inspired into action around the country.

He said: “The other side of it is, in 2016, 100 years after the Rising.

“Michael Collins once spoke about walking down the streets of Dublin when it was free, but the point about it is, walking around Dublin that is being prepared for dereliction so that vulture funds can lean on the planning system is something we have to have a long think about.

“I think at the end of 2016, let’s look at the good news.

“Consciousness is raised, proposals are being put forward and good people are trying their best so 2017 can be a great year if we solve this problem that’s here for us at home.

“It’s not just in Dublin but in cities throughout Ireland.”

Courtesy of