Dail recognises housing emergency following protests

The move comes a day after students took to the streets in the Raise the Roof demonstration

A motion on emergency measures to combat the housing crisis, put forward by Solidarity and People Before Profit, has been passed in the Dáil today. The motion was supported by all parties outside of the government, with 83 votes in support, with 43 voting against. The cross-party motion seeks to have homelessness and housing declared a national emergency.

The motion called for emergency measures to be taken to effectively tackle the housing crisis. This includes the illegalistation of evicting tenants in private rented accommodation into homelessness, the reduction of rent prices, capital expenditure increases, and the insertion of a right to housing into the constitution.

The motion was supported by Richard Boyd Barrett TD, who also spoke during a parliamentary debate yesterday. He criticised “a small cohort of people [who] are watching the profits pour in”. While calling for the declaration of a national emergency, he also called for aggressive measures to be taken, alongside the addition of €1 billion to Budget 2019, which can be used to tackle homelessness.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney recognised these concerns, speaking during Leader’s Questions. He noted that the government had already allocated “a huge capital package”, and that this committed them to providing publicly funded housing. He also pointed out that money was not the only requirement to achieve this, but also effective processes and decision making.

Speaking on the issue, Sinn Féin spokesman for housing, Eoin Ó Broin, noted that the declaration of a national emergency undermined the progress the government claims to have made. He also said that following a declaration of this nature, simple measures would help to reduce the flow of people into homelessness.

This comes as over 3,000 students marched from the Garden of Remembrance to Leinster House yesterday as part of the Raise the Roof protest. Students demanded affordable housing, and the passing of today’s private members bill in the Dáil. It follows almost two months of direct action across the city as part of the Take Back the City initiative, that is currently occupying 41 Belvedere Place.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister Law student, and a former Deputy News Editor.