People Before Profit strongly supports the ongoing occupation of 35 Summerhill Parade in Dublin by activists in the Dublin Central Housing Action Group.
This radical action highlights the fundamental fact about the extreme and ever worsening housing crisis gripping Irish society: namely that it is only going to be resolved by people power, by grassroots action from below.
Year on year government ministers claim that the housing crisis is their ‘top priority’ and that they have a ‘plan’ to fix it by ‘incentivising’ property developers to increase ‘supply’. But year on year nothing happens for the simple reason that none of the political establishment are willing to break with reliance on ‘the free market’ which has caused the problem in the first place.
Essentially the solution to the housing and homelessness crisis is very simple. The state should build affordable public houses on the scale required by the needs of the people. This they refuse to do because it would ‘interfere’ with the market and the divine rights of private property, not to mention upset their friends the landlords. And this will continue until they are forced by pressure from the people.
The landlords who own the Summerhill Parade building absolutely typify the real causes of the housing crisis. Number 35 is one of five properties on Summerhill Parade owned by landlords Pat and PJ O’Donnell. Until this year these five properties were ’home’ to 120 tenants, many of them Brazilian students, each paying between €350-€400 a month, for a bed in a room of 6-8 people.
Then in May, when it served their purposes, the O’Donnell’s staged an illegal mass eviction of their vulnerable tenants and since then the properties have stood empty.
The Dublin Central Housing activists say ‘Enough is enough! They have occupied the building and are demanding that it be compulsorily purchased by Dublin City Council and handed over to the community to actually house people.
We say they are right and this is just what councils and the government should be doing. Housing is a human right and the rights and needs of the people stand higher than the rights of private property and of greedy landlords to turn a profit.
We urge our members and supporters, and other grass roots activists, to get behind the Summerhill occupation in any way they can. People are welcome at any time to go down and show support. We also hope that this will inspire similar radical actions by activists round the country and that all these struggles will feed into the mass Housing and Homelessness Demonstration being planned for early October.
People power is the way to go!