Tuesday, 14 May 2019
An Bille um an gCúigiú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (An Ceart chun Teaghaise) 2016: An Dara Céim [Comhaltaí Príobháideacha] - Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill 2016: Second Stage [Private Members]
The people who live in six apartment blocks on the Old Youghal Road, Dillons Cross in Cork city face eviction, having been given a notice to quit date of 19 July. They have not broken the terms of their leases and have paid their rents. The stated reason for the eviction is renovation. The landlord plans to evict, refurbish and, I suspect, massively hike the rents. Rents in Cork city are at a record high, while the shortage of homes to rent has never been greater. The residents in question face the threat of eviction into homelessness but they will not take that lying down. They have seen how the residents of the Leeside Apartments successfully resisted eviction, how people power worked, and are inspired by the example. Last night, more than 70 people attended an anti-eviction protest organised by Solidarity's Carol Brogan and a second protest has been called for 5 p.m. on Monday, 20 May at Dillons Cross. A Government that cared for people such as the residents in question would support the legislation but the Government will not do that. It does not care, it worships the markets, and the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party is stuffed to the gills with landlords. If the Government allows such residents to be thrown out onto the streets, Fine Gael councillors deserve to be thrown out of the council chambers. A Government that allows such evictions deserves a hammering at the ballot box on Friday, 24 May.
Solidarity will support this progressive Bill. With more than 10,000 people now officially homeless, it should be passed, although we would go further. The constitutional right to a home should be underpinned by a guarantee of a home for all. If it is necessary to delimit the right to private property to ensure the common good, that is precisely what should be done. Solidarity calls on people to attend the Raise the Roof protest in Dublin on Saturday, 18 May in massive numbers to show the Government how people feel about the issue and to demand real action on the housing crisis.