Varadkar Only Offers Opportunity For Homelessness – Martin Browne

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin has condemned Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s alleged “Republic of Opportunity” saying that real employment isn’t being created, and that the homeless figures which continue to increase show the lie behind the propaganda.

Speaking at the 2nd March for Change in Clonmel, Cllr Browne said: “Leo Varadkar speaks fine words, and makes a fine-sounding speech about a “Republic of Opportunity”, but the opportunities aren’t equal for all.”

Varadkar Only Offers Opportunity For Homelessness - Martin Browne

Cllr Martin Browne, Helen Browne, Anne Marie Channon

“We’re told that the unemployment figures have dropped, but in Tipperary we see little of that. Instead we see people enrolled on various ‘Jobbridge’ and ‘Gateway’ schemes that are little more than slave labour. It may be that Varadkar thinks this is a good thing. I don’t.”

“I see that very few move to full time employment following those schemes.”

“Housing on the other hand is Fine Gael’s growth industry. Month after month the figures for homelessness continue to rise. Varadkar has the gall to say that they’re getting on top of the homelessness situation, claiming that 82 people a week are being housed.”

“But the homelessness figures continue to rise. 8,160 people have no homes. That includes almost 3,000 children. Even the homelessness among the age group 18 to 24 has increased by 25% in the last year. Since the youth homelessness figures started being kept in 2014 the figure has doubled. But even then, those figures don’t include young people in unstable living arrangements or who must couch-surf with friends to avoid life on the streets.”

“It’s not just in employment or in housing that we’re being misled. Here in Clonmel hospital, while the excellent front-line staff battle with the problems, the extent of the overcrowding and trolley crisis in South Tipperary General Hospital deepens and waiting lists continue to grow longer.”

“The people are disappointed with the untrue line about a “Republic of Opportunity”. They increasingly see through the lies and realise the depth of the problems, and they know that the opportunities aren’t equal for all. The greatest hope for the people at present, to respond to the spin and PR of this Taoiseach’s publicity machine, is to remember that there’s an election coming.”

“Realistically, all that Varadkar offers is an increased opportunity for homelessness.”

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