I spoke today in support of a Bill proposed by Tommy Pringle TD, that would enshrine a host of rights connected to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights into our constitution. In typical fashion the Government has tried to kick it down the road for 18 months. The proposal would strengthen peoples legal rights to form trade unions and have access to decent and adequate public services such as the key one – HOUSING. This is what I said:

DEVELOPERS ARE DESTROYING OUR CITY. They were given the green light when building regulations were eased by FG, and previously by LP Ministers. The scale of it is staggering. Nineteen stories high – on the South Circular Road – US property group Hines’ plans for the scheme of 732 apartments – the equivalent of a small town. Almost 80 per cent of the apartments will be studios, one-bed apartments, or co-living rooms. None of the apartments will be available for sale, with 492 build-to-rent apartments planned, in addition to 240 co-living units. All for profit, not for solving the housing crisis. No wonder D8 is up in arms. I spoke in Dáil today about this.

Kennedy Wilson is a multi-billion dollar US property company who bought up property and land in Ireland after the financial crash. They did it through the government’s disastrous NAMA scheme, which allowed vulture funds and property speculators to buy land and properties like this one here at Clancy Barracks, which currently has over 190 apartments lying empty. Last night’s RTE Investigates program showed the harrowing experiences of people who are living on our streets – hundreds of people forced to sleep rough every night. We are calling on the government to CPO (compulsory purchase order) these properties immediately, as the Spanish state did in Barcelona. That way, we can house everybody who lives here, whether they’re from Carlow, or Tuam, whether they’re migrants or asylum seekers. There is enough space in this country for everyone to have a home. We need to kick out the vultures. No more profiting from the housing crisis.

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With this new government legislation coming into effect on the 10th August, landlords can evict again, after a temporary ban on evictions over the last few months. This bill – effectively making it legal again to evict tenants – will strike fear into the hearts of many families and individuals who were protected only due to emergency evictions ban that was in place. This minister is loyal to the landlords. What about the thousands of people who are terrified they will have nowhere to live?

 

Bríd addresses a local rally at the disused Players Wills factory on SCR. The rally was to highlight the failure of NAMA to deliver this site for public and affordable housing, instead of developer’s profits. It was also to publicise the National Homeless and Housing Coalition march planned for Dec 1st.

Housing is a human right – a point made by a UN spokesperson on housing Leilani Farha, as well as by People Before Profit. Against that background, Brid told a harrowing story of homelessness in the Dáil today.