A New Image For The Irish State

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The Public Order Unit are a special unit of the police for dealing with protesters. In the past, they brutally attacked the people of Rossport in Mayo when they opposed a Shell oil refinery.

This week they were deployed on the streets of Dublin, wearing masks and looking like something that stepped out of Pinochet’s Chile.

They stood aside as a group of civilians – who were also masked- attacked protestors inside an occupied house. They then turned on activists and beat them with batons and physically assaulted them

There was a clear strategy behind this sinister move – it was designed to instil fear into anyone daring to take direct action to highlight the housing crisis.

But it backfired on the new police commissioner, Drew Harris, a former senior RUC officer.

Instead of fear there was a wave of anger and one thousand people turned up at a few hours’ notice to show their solidarity with those who were attacked.

Far from destroying a movement to take back control of our cities, it has strengthened it.

More occupations will occur and thousands will come together for a major protest at the Dail on Wednesday  October 3rd at 12.30.

The landlord parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have done nothing to tackle the housing crisis. Now it is time for ‘people power’ to bring change.

HERE IS HOW WE CAN TACKLE HOUSING CRISIS

The housing emergency is out of control.

Average rents in Dublin have reached a record level of €1,304, more than 26% higher than during the Celtic Tiger.

90% of homes to rent are now beyond the pocket of people relying on Rent Supplement and HAP.

Rents have increased by over 12% during the last year as landlords use loopholes to get around existing rent control laws to raise rents above the 4% threshold and evict tenants.

At the end of Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s first year in charge, a record 9,872 people were homeless and living in emergency accommodation with families reduced to sleeping in Garda stations.

The lack of social and affordable housing is driving the crisis. Just 780 local authority houses were built across the State last year.

Now the banks we bailed out are selling off tens of thousands of distressed mortgages to vulture funds. The government are turning their backs on this deplorable action that will lead to even greater Homelessness.

All this demonstrates the abysmal failure of this government and its unwillingness to break from private market solutions.

To tackle the housing crisis, People Before Profit would:

  • Reduce rents and introduce rent controls linked to the Consumer Price Index, backdated to 2011.
  • Give tenants greater security of tenure.
  • Increase supply. There is public land zoned for 120,000 units that could be split between local authority tenants and those looking for affordable housing. Stop the sell off of public land to private developers.
  • Take over vacant properties: There are 144,000 applicants on housing waiting lists yet there are 183,000 empty homes in the country. Only 416 of these have been delivered so far. Local councils should identify and engage with owners of such properties in their area. If houses or sites are not used within six months or valid reasons given, a compulsory acquisition order should be invoked to bring them into use.
  • Stop all evictions. Implement an immediate emergency measure to stop any family being evicted into homelessness.
  • End land speculation: That all private developments have a requirement for 20% social and affordable homes. To implement this, builders must provide councils with 20% of the land at use value prices.

Join the #RaiseTheRoof Rally Outside the Dail organised by the National Coalition for Homeless and Housing on Wednesday 3rd October 12.30pm.