A national housing demonstration is taking place this afternoon in the city of Dublin, with organizers calling for Government action on the housing crisis.
The rally is organized by the housing campaign group “Raise the Roof”, which is made up of unions, housing and homeless agencies, women’s groups, political parties, senior citizens’ representatives, children’s advocacy groups, community organizations, student unions, travel groups and academics.
The group calls for a new housing deal that includes affordable housing and rents that allow families a decent standard of living, as well as eviction protection, tenant security, and high-quality public housing.
The demonstration comes a day after the number of homeless people hit a record high, with more than 11,000 people living in emergency accommodation last month.
The demonstration started in Parnell Square at 1pm, before marching to Merrion Square, near the government buildings, where speeches will be made by union leaders and other constituency groups.
There are also performances by musicians like Glen Hansard and Lisa O’Neill.
Irish Trades Union Congress General Secretary Owen Reidy said the demonstration would “give civic society an opportunity to stand together to make sure that we truly have a housing policy for this State that meets the needs of its people”, reports RTE.
“The housing crisis is the most important issue that the trade union movement is campaigning on at the moment,” Mr Reidy said, reports RTE.
Macdara Doyle, ICTU campaign manager, said: “We need secure, affordable homes for all who live and work here. Bad policy choices have led us ever deeper into a full-blown emergency. We need a housing system that prioritises public good over private profit,” reports RTE.
The Monthly Homelessness Report found that 7,917 adults and 1,601 families had access to emergency housing last month, including 3,480 children.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said yesterday’s figures were “very worrying” and the government needed to “redouble its efforts” to increase the supply of social housing.
He said the figures date back to October, before emergency measures to ban winter evictions were introduced, and he hoped more could be done in the coming months to generate more social housing.
Earlier this week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he believes the government is making progress on housing.
Mr Varadkar said more houses will be built this year than in any year in the last ten, but said some areas are lagging behind. The impact of the eviction ban will not be seen for another month or so, he added.
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