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09/30/2018 Comments are off Patrick Cole

Radical political action required to solve housing crisis

Radical political action is required to force the Government to roll out a major, public building programme to deal with the urgent need for social and affordable housing, according to SIPTU General Secretary Joe O’Flynn.

He has called on SIPTU members, their families and friends to join the ‘Raise the Roof’ rally to be held outside Leinster House on Wednesday, 3rd October.

The rally organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, the National Womens’ Council and the Union of Students in Ireland is timed to coincide with a Dáil motion on the housing crisis.

The motion calls for the immediate construction of quality, affordable public housing, an end to evictions and the inclusion of the right to housing in the Irish Constitution.

It is supported by opposition parties including Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, People Before Profit/Solidarity, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and Independents4Change.

Trade union members and other campaigners have been lobbying Fianna Fáil deputies and senators over recent months to support the call for a massive, publicly led, social and affordable housing programme.

They will seek to have the party support the motion to be tabled by the other opposition parties.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the housing crisis is damaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their families. As with any crisis it is working people, those on low and average incomes, who suffer the most,” O’Flynn said.

“Buying your own home is now beyond reach for a generation of young people. The shortage of public, social and affordable housing means that tens of thousands are forced into the rental sector. Rents are increasing, as landlords take advantage of the shortfall in supply.”

“Young workers and students find it almost impossible to find decent accommodation at affordable prices, particularly when they work in low paid, precarious employment,” the SIPTU General Secretary told Liberty.

“More and more families are forced into homelessness because rents are too high or because they cannot meet their mortgage repayments due to financial difficulty. They are then forced into unsuitable accommodation in hotels or emergency hubs. A generation of children will grow up without knowing what a normal home is like.”

“It is important that we come out in large numbers to support this call for immediate action that puts the public interest ahead of those who are profiting from the lack of social and affordable housing which makes life a misery for so many families across the country,” he said.

The SIPTU Dublin District Council is co-ordinating the union’s participation in the rally. It is calling on all members to stand with the union flag on 3rd October.

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