Sinn Féin election candidate, Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin has blasted the policing of the RAS Housing scheme in the Gorey area and has called for boarded up houses in the town to be used for social housing.
Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin was speaking after visitng sub-standard accommodation close to Goreys Main Street.
"Thankfully, we in Gorey are lucky in that we see nice facades on retail developments. However, the casual passer by will more than likely be unaware of the grim reality that lies behind some of these developments for many people.
Large numbers of families and single people (particularly men) are being forced to stay in deplorable living accommodation in the Gorey area, sometimes within a stones throw of Gorey Main Street.
This appears to be particularly prevalent in tenancies allocated under Wexford County Councils RAS scheme.
Tenants have been contacting me and inviting me to witness deplorable living conditions - damp and mouldy walls, complexes where heaters and electrical devices are regularly sparking and tripping,asthmatic people living in accommodation with bad ventilation and air pollution from nearby developments, complexes without fire escapes and in breach of regulations etc etc.
Even though these are council tenancies through the RAS scheme, there appears to be little, if any, enforcement of basic standards when rogue landlords don't comply.
It doesn't have to be like this. In towns like Gorey, where the housing list has increased dramatically over the past few years, many abandoned developments lie idle. Similarly, in Riverchapel, and also in rural areas.
"It is shocking that there are 33,000 empty houses in unfinished estates across this state while 100,000 linger on housing waiting lists. In 2013 only 500 houses in this state were taken over for social housing.
Under the 2014 House Building programme just ten new starts have been announced for the Gorey area.
Despite the establishment of the RAS scheme, the social housing list has actually increased in the Gorey area in the last 2 years. Yet abandoned houses lie scattered across North Wexford. We can all name places and estates where houses lie boarded up or vacant ones lie locked up.
Schemes like RAS are supposed to be temporary measures while applicants wait for social housing. However, both central government and local government are using then to massage the waiting list figures for council housing. There are and estimated 200 RAS tenancies in the Gorey area.
We in Sinn Féin are calling for immediate policing of the RAS scheme; a building programme for social housing to be commenced; and for abandoned and unfinished buildings to be taken over, refurbished and used to house families lingering on the social housing waiting lists.
It will provide badly needed jobs in the construction industry and is also the right thing to do to put a decent roof over families heads"