Fears over dismantling of Housing Executive

Sheena McDaid.
Sheena McDaid.

A Derry Housing Executive worker has expressed fears that the organisation is being systematically dismantled and warned that the privatisation of people’s homes was resulting in rent hikes for local tenants.

Sheena McDaid, representing her NIPSA colleagues in the Housing Executive, said that public housing services like other areas have “taken such a savage battering”.

She said the government had begun the process of breaking up the Housing Executive two years ago, a service fought for and secured during the Civil Rights movement.

Speaking at the meeting in the Maldron Hotel, she said: “My concern is that social housing is slowly disappearing. The Housing Executive is slowly being picked apart, piece by piece.

“A success story born of the Civil Rights movement, a giant in size and achievements, yet it has been allowed to slide to the bottom of the pile, whilst outside speculators have been allowed to pick and choose bits they deem to be profitable like vultures picking over a not-quite dead carcass.

“Are we going backwards as a society, that something we fought for and won will soon become a charitable donation?

Speaking about the transfer of Housing Executive stock to “for-profit” Housing Associations, she added: “Derry is on its knees financially and our Stormont officials know this, yet they are quite prepared to go away and give away people’s homes.

“If the Housing Executive is wiped out, do we go back to the dark days? Does gerrymandering make a reappearance? If we lose the Housing 
Executive, what are we left with?”

Ms. McDaid further urged local people to join the Hands Off Our Homes campaign and “talk to their neighbours”, adding the campaign to save the Housing Executive would 
only be won at a grass roots level.