Right to Housing Now
In March 2017, People Before Profit were the first political party to put a Right2Housing Bill to the Dail – but this was voted down by the establishment parties. Then in October 2018, People Profit brought a cross-party motion which called on the government to declare a housing emergency in order to
- Increase the supply of social and affordable housing through an extra €2.3 billion in Budget 2019.
- Increase the contribution of private builders from 10-20% of their developments – and 30% in strategic areas.
- Make it illegal to evict people into homelessness.
- Hold a referendum to enshrine the right to housing in the constitution.
This motion passed with 83 voting for and only 43 against. It was also backed by many organisations in civil society, including the trade unions, charities, housing activists and political parties associated with the Raise the Roof Campaign. This campaign put 12,000 people on the streets as the motion went through, but despite this democratic pressure from inside and outside the parliament, Fine Gael haven’t budged. If the government took the €13 billion that Apple owes in back tax and embarked on a major public and affordable building programme it would clear the waiting lists and end the scourge of homelessness. But it would also reduce private sector rents, mortgages and profits – hurting the bankers, builders, developers and vulture funds at the centre of the government’s housing strategy. Fine Gael want property prices to remain high in the private sector and they are willing to accept the human misery that goes along with this to achieve their objective. We have a different strategy.