Simon Harris criticises ‘siloed’ approach to disability services

Simon Harris Criticises ‘Siloed’ Approach To Disability Services
He said Fine Gael would promote a universal design approach for travel and playgrounds and invest in sensory spaces in libraries.
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Taoiseach Simon Harris has criticised a “siloed” approach to disability services and problems 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 that he was “sick and tired of the national pass the parcel” in relation to 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.

“Parents don’t care, children don’t care about it, I don’t care about who does the job – we just need to get it done,” he said.

He also said that housing was “the defining societal issue” in Ireland and went beyond a crisis to an “inter-generational anxiety”.

He called for a review of the bulk purchase 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’m pleased with a number of the measures the housing minister and the finance minister have brought in, I think they’ve been good, I think they’ve been effective, but I don’t think we can close our ears in relation to this.”

He also said local authorities would be “held to account” for their housing delivery, and said it was “about time every part of the public service puts their shoulder to the wheel”.


Asked about the comments afterwards, Mr Harris said: “I don’t say this to be critical, but there isn’t a consistency in relation to the delivery of housing across the country.

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

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

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He added: “I don’t want to be blaming anybody, nor them blaming us, but I want every arm of this state to work together because what I can tell you, seven weeks as Taoiseach, I am concerned genuinely about the siloed approach that is taken to problems in this country.


“I have huge respect for our public servants, I described them as the best in the world today at the National Economic Dialogue, that is my view. But I do sometimes think there can be ‘that’s a matter for somebody else’, ‘that’s a matter for that agency’. The public are sick and tired of that.

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

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