‘The Government must act on housing’ - public meeting told
“It is no exaggeration to say that the housing crisis is damaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their families.” the President of the SIPTU Trade Union, Mr Padraic Peyton told a “Raise the Roof ” public meeting in Sligo last week.
The Raise the Roof campaign is an Irish Congress of Trade Unions sponsored campaign demanding action on the housing crisis which has the support of numerous political parties, students’ unions and community groups.
“As with any crisis it is working people, those on low and average incomes who suffer the most. Buying your own home is now beyond reach for a generation of young people.” Mr Peyton said.
“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 supply shortage despite the government cap in some parts of the country.
“Young workers and students find it almost impossible to find decent accommodation at affordable prices.” he said.
Mr Corey Whyte of Unite the Union said, “Ireland is experiencing the worst housing and homelessness emergency in its history. The latest proposal from government for a Land Development Agency (LDA) demonstrates clearly that the Government, and Fine Gael in particular, is still wedded to the false belief that the private sector can deliver the affordable, quality and secure housing to which every citizen is entitled.
“While it claims that the LDA will deliver 150,000 new homes over 20 years, it concedes that none will completed before 2020. The proposal also involves the State handing over public land to private developers who will then be expected to deliver ‘up to’ 30% social and affordable housing on each project.”
Denise Curran of the Mandate Trade Union said: “Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy believes and tells us that an “affordable” house is one priced at €320,000? I would point out that a Tesco retail worker on a full-time contract at the top end of that company’s pay scales barely earns in a year the €32,000 required for the deposit for this affordable house.”
Mr Pat Fallon the Chairman of the Sligo branch of the FORSA trade union said: “Soaring rents have put huge financial strain on many tenants in private rented accommodation.
“Meanwhile Council housing waiting lists grow ever longer and homeless numbers are at record levels. The Raise the Roof campaign is demanding radical action on the crisis, including the construction of quality, affordable public housing, preventing people from being evicted into homelessness and enshrining the right to housing in the constitution.” he said.
Speakers at the ‘Raise the Roof’ public meeting Pat Fallon (Forsa), Denise Curran (Mandate), Padraig Peyton (Siptu) and Corey Whyte (Unite).