A special meeting of Dublin City Council was held this evening to debate a cross party motion on the housing crisis.
The motion called, among other things, on the government to implement legislation to make it illegal to evict into homelessness, to double the capital budget for public house building in the budget, to lower rents and to enshrine the right to housing in the constitution. The motion is below.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Tina MacVeigh, Chair of the National Homeless and Housing Coalition said:
‘It is significant, almost historic, that all of the left parties in the Dail have come together to propose a set of practical actions that can be implemented immediately and which will halt the flow into homelessness from the private rented sector. We know that increasing rents and evictions from private rented accommodation are the single biggest contributor to the record numbers of homelessness. There has been much vilification of protestors and those occupying vacant buildings over the past weeks – questions about whether laws are being broken and whether it is reasonable to occupy. To this I say two things: It’s not citizens who have become unreasonable. Rather, government refused to listen to warning signs of the impending housing crisis and its depth and have also refused to build any social housing. In relation to the law, the question that needs to be asked is who makes law and in whose interest? Currently, law in Ireland benefits landlords, developers, vulture funds, land speculators, corporations – not those ravaged by the housing crisis. Enshrining the Right to Housing in the Constitution would give everyone who lives in Ireland a basis against which they can demand that right be realised and give them duty bearers, such as the local authority, that they can hold to account.
Cllr John Lyons added: ‘Tonight’s debate took place ahead of the debate in the Dail on October 3rd – the backdrop to the debate is the fantastic groundswell of protest and direct action we have seen in recent weeks, led by #TakeBackTheCity housing activists. It is significant that this motion has passed tonight as increasingly, opposition parties are beginning to agree on obvious and meaningful solutions and practical actions to end the crisis, including using public land to build public housing. On the 3rd of October, I call on any TD in the Dail who is serious about tackling this crisis to vote in favour of the cross party motion on housing’.
For further information: Cllr. Tina MacVeigh 086 871 5293
Dublin City Council notes that:
- Access to secure and affordable housing is increasingly out of reach for many people
- From the locked out generation of students and young workers or unemployed people to older workers facing into retirement, high cost insecure accommodation is a reality for too many people
- The failure of government to provide an adequate supply of good quality public housing in sustainable communities lies at the heart of the housing crisis
- The most graphic symptom of this crisis is the growing number of children living in emergency accommodation
- A new approach to housing is required to meet the housing needs of all those locked out of the private market including young people, those on modest incomes, those on low pensions, those on Council waiting lists, travellers, people with disabilities, older people and students
- Important proposals to address the Housing Crisis have been put forward by a wide variety of groups including the National Housing and Homeless Coalition and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Dublin City Council therefore calls on the current government, ahead of Budget 2019, to:
- Declare the housing and homeless crisis an emergency
- Dramatically increase the supply of public, affordable housing, including publicly provided cost rental housing, by increasing capital spending on housing to at least €2.3bn in budget 2019
- Build public housing on public land; and aggressively target the return of vacant houses to active use
- Reduce the flow of adults and children into homelessness with emergency legislation to make it illegal to evict anybody into homelessness
- Hold a referendum to enshrine the right to public housing in the Constitution