Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Carlow Nationalist — Simon Harris criticizes the ‘silo approach’ to disability care

By Vaseline May27,2024
Carlow Nationalist — Simon Harris criticizes the ‘silo approach’ to disability care

Carlow Nationalist — Simon Harris criticizes the ‘silo approach’ to disability care

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Taoiseach Simon Harris has criticized a ‘silo approach’ to disability services and issues in Ireland as he encouraged local authorities to help solve the housing crisis.

At the launch of his party’s local and European manifesto in Dublin, Mr Harris said he was fed up with “the national pass-the-package” on disability services in Ireland.

He said Fine Gael would promote a universal design approach for travel and playgrounds and invest in sensory spaces in libraries.

“The parents don’t care, the kids don’t care, I don’t care who does the work – we just have to get it done,” he said.

He also said housing was “the defining social issue” in Ireland, moving beyond a crisis to an “anxiety between generations”.

He called for a review of the bulk purchasing of houses by institutional investors.

European and local elections
Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Simon Harris poses with European local election candidates. Photo: Niall Carson/PA.

“I welcome some of the measures that the Housing Minister and the Finance Minister have introduced, I think they have been good, I think they have been effective, but I don’t think we can close our ears to related to this.”

He also said local authorities “will be held accountable” for their housing deliveries, saying it was “time every part of the public service stepped up to the plate”.

Asked about the comments afterwards, Mr Harris said: “I don’t say this to be critical, but there is no consistency in terms of housing delivery across the country.

“And I don’t say that to be critical, the reason I make that point is because blockages can sometimes occur. So this is not about the local government and the national government having a fight here.”

He said he wanted to know if there were “blocks” or funding issues behind why some local authorities take longer than others to “convert a vacant property into a home for a family”.

He added: “I don’t want to blame anyone, nor do they blame us, but I want all branches of this state to work together because what I can tell you, seven weeks as Prime Minister, I am genuinely concerned about the silo approach that is taken to the problems in this country.

“I have enormous respect for our civil servants, I described them today during the National Economic Dialogue as the best in the world, in my opinion. But I sometimes think that it can be said that ‘that is a matter for someone else’, ‘that is a matter for that authority’. The public is tired of that.

“I have a very low threshold in terms of tolerance for that. I want to get housing in order once and for all and I want everyone to do their part.”

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