Thousands march over housing crisis


Campaigners have taken to the streets of Dublin this Saturday afternoon to voice their anger over the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis.

Up to 20,000 gathered for the march in wet weather to protest at the Dublin government’s failure to improve the situation.

The National Homeless and Housing Coalition (NHHC), which is made up of trade unions, politicians and campaign groups, organised the event.

Today’s protest coincided with the anniversary of homeless man Jonathan Corrie who died near the Dail four years ago.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett of People before Profit said the coalition was taking its inspiration from the anti-water charges campaign, which he said was based on a number of mass mobilisations that shook the Dublin government into action.

He said the action builds on the “very successful and enormous Raise the Roof protest at the Dail in October.”

“We want to keep up the pressure, really to force to government to start to delivering public and affordable housing and to stop the evictions that are fuelling a public housing crisis that is just getting worse and worse and worse,” he said.

Following the release of the latest set of homeless figures last week, several charities criticised the government over its failure to tackle the crisis.

The report shows an overall increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation to 9,724, including nearly 4,000 children.

But Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn the minister “can’t stand over the figures” after 1,600 people were re-categorised out of the official count,

Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin TD has said that the homeless report ‘isn’t worth the paper it is written on’.

“The real number of people sleeping in emergency accommodation or on the streets is unfortunately much higher,” he said.

“If you include rough sleepers, adults and children in hostels not funded by Government, women and children in Tusla funded domestic violence refuges, former asylum seekers trapped in Direct Provision, and adults and children wrongly removed by Minister Murphy from the figures in recent months, the real homeless figure is closer to 12,000.”

In a sign of his diminishing influence in government, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy suffered a rare defeat in the Dail after a Sinn Fein bill on boosting social housing numbers was passed.

Minister Murphy had opposed it vigorously at previous stages.

Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O Broin called for stricter new laws to force property developers make sure more of the houses they build are set aside for social and affordable housing.

The law currently says there has to be 10% set aside, but Sinn Fein’s bill calls for this to be increased to 25% or 30% in some special areas.

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