“Winter of discontent” housing rally takes place outside the Dáil

The demonstration coincided with the return of the Dáil sitting

A protest organised by National Housing and Homeless Coalition took place this evening, September 15 outside Leinster House. 

Approximately 200 were in attendance. The entrance to Leinster House was cordoned off with barriers early this morning in advance of a protest held by environmentalist group, Extinction Rebellion, and this evening’s housing demonstration.  

Protestors were unable to gain access to the pavement surrounding Leinster House, with Gardai surveying the barriers. 

Protestors chanted: “Homes for people, not for profit” and “What do we want? Homes for all! When do we want them? Now!” 

Speaking at the demonstration, Tina McVeigh from People Before Profit said:  “We’re here this evening to mark their [the government] cards, and say that this winter is going to be a winter of housing discontent.” 

She emphasised the need for an anti racist approach in the housing movement, and lead chants of “Blame the vultures, not other cultures.” 

Other speakers included Beth O’Reilly from Union of Students Ireland (USI),  Bernard Joyce from the Irish Traveller Movement, a rep from Community Action Tenants Union (CATU) and Cian O’Callaghan, Social Democrats TD.  

Speaking at the demo, Joyce said: “A home is not a commodity, it is a home for life. For many of us, we’ve not had a home.” He highlighted that “39% of Travellers live in overcrowded accommodation while Travellers account for 50% of the total homeless figures, despite making up less than 1% of the population.”

O’Reilly from USI made a speech, in which she said: “This housing crisis is a student issue, and it’s an all island student issue…We can’t fight for education for all without fighting for homes for all.” O’Reilly claimed: “The Housing for All Plan offered nothing to student renters. ” 

She continued to say: “We are graduating into an Ireland we can’t afford to live in.” 

The protest was formally endorsed by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU). In a statement to Trinity News, TCDSU President Leah Keogh said: “Year on year students scramble to source accommodation, only to settle for crumbs.” 

“With rents in Dublin averaging more than 1,000 the shortage and therefore, cost of student accommodation has become a very real barrier to higher education.” 

Keogh asked that students “show up and speak up, to let them [the government] know that we haven’t gone anywhere either, and won’t stop until students can access secure, affordable or public accommodation.” 

TCDSU met at 4pm outside House 6 to make signs and placards, before joining the demonstration at Leinster House. 

Attendees were asked to wear masks and adhere to social distancing. 

This article was updated at 19:13 to amend the list of speakers present. 

Grace Gageby

Grace Gageby is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. She studies English and Philosophy and was previously Deputy Comment Editor.