"It is a disaster" - Michael D. Higgins slams Ireland's housing policy as "great failure"
The President certainly didn't mince his words.
President Michael D. Higgins has hit out at Ireland's housing policy, calling it the country's "great, great failure".
The President also stated that Ireland is not facing a housing crisis but a housing "disaster".
He made the comments while attending a facility run by Tiglin, a charity helping people overcome addiction and homelessness, at Jigginstown Manor in Naas, Kildare.
"I often ask myself, you know, how republican is what we’ve created? And isn’t it sometimes very much closer to the poor law system that we thought we were departing from," Higgins said.
"That's a real challenge. I have taken as well to speaking ever more frankly in relation to housing because I think it is our great, great, great failure.
"It isn’t a crisis anymore, it is a disaster."
Higgins said that Ireland has to "really think about" meeting the basic needs of its people, listing food, shelter and education as examples.
"Building homes is what is important, it is not to be a star performer for the speculative sector internationally or anything else," he added.
Also, during the speech, the President slammed the conditions some members of the Travelling Community in Ireland are faced with.
"I spend a great deal of my time, for example, meeting people who are celebrating Ireland's membership in the Security Council, membership of the Council of Europe," Higgins told attendees.
"But then I have to go over to Galway... to address yet again something that is there as bad as it was 50 years ago. A halting site for Travelling people next to the rubbish dump.
"That's something that shouldn't be... For 50 years, it's like that.
"And all the time, it's very difficult. It isn't difficult. It is a moral wrong, irresponsible, to leave people in the conditions we have left some of our Travelling people.
"If we are to be the Republic of a 100 years on and we're going to celebrate the foundation of the State and all of the institutions, let's do something wonderful with it all."