People Before Profit are holding a public rally at the Player Wills site on the South Circular Road on Saturday 26th January at 1pm. This event follows on from a previous rally in November 2018 and will be part of a strategy of regular rallies at the site intended to put pressure on the government to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order and utilise the site for a public housing programme.
Cllr. Tina MacVeigh, chair of the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, said: “So many groups in society are now completely unable to access housing. Rents and mortgages are entirely unaffordable. People are being shut out of our communities. The market solutions imposed by the government have only exacerbated the housing crisis. The only solution is for the government to deliver a public model of housing on public land. This housing should be made available to anyone who needs it at a cost based on their ability to pay.
“The Player Wills and Bailey Gibson sites are ideal for a public housing programme. These sites could easily accommodate 500 units of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes along with community facilities and green spaces. It is a disgrace that they have been left derelict for decades, especially in the context of the housing crisis. This has been a tremendous waste and another shameful marker of government neglect. It is imperative that the government immediately issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). We simply cannot accept a situation where a developer reaps the site for profit or allows the land to sit idle for another decade or more. This is the kind of policy that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil encourage and it has always been a disaster.
“The government’s reliance on the market to provide solutions has resulted in thousands of vacant properties and sites across the country. The only development we are seeing in this area is an onslaught of applications for luxury student accommodation and hotels. These applications are driven by a desire for financial gain and are completely unsuitable for the needs of the community.
“Nearby residents have had to endure living in the vicinity of a derelict factory and have been denied the numerous benefits that could be brought to this area. Development needs to happen immediately and in close consultation with the local community. This would not only go some way towards alleviating the housing crisis but would ensure significant community gain would arise out of any proposals.”
Peter Dooley (People Before Profit Kimmage/Rathmines representative and Dublin Renters’ Union) said: “People Before Profit have played a central role in the housing movement growing in Dublin and across the country as people are getting frustrated with the government’s neoliberal solutions which have done nothing but add fuel to the fire.
“Sites like this lie empty while thousands are suffering in emergency accommodation, languishing on the waiting list or sleeping in doorways. The treatment of housing as a commodity rather than a necessity has brought enormous pain to many. Those in the private rental sector find themselves with no security whatsoever with the threat of evictions hanging over them. We need sustainable, affordable public housing to provide this much-needed security.
“The fightback has already begun as we saw with last year’s Take Back the City occupations and the national housing protests which saw thousands take to the streets to demand action. I encourage everyone to identify vacant sites in their local areas and get their communities organised to demand homes for all.”
Bríd Smith TD said: “Taxpayers’ money was used to bail out the banks and now it has been used to protect the assets of a developer. This land is of enormous value to the community and it is a huge waste to see it handed back. We need public housing to be developed on this site immediately.”