“I attended court with a young homeless boy who had been charged with theft of a bottle of orange, value €1….
A TD, on his way to, or from, his full-time, very well paid job in Brussels, stops by at Dáil Éireann to sign in, so that he can collect his full €51,600 expenses for his attendance in the Dáil.”- Father Peter McVerry, Irish Times, 3 December 2019
Peter McVerry’s letter above sums up the injustice that lies at its heart of housing crisis. To add insult to injury the TD mentioned in it, Dara Murphy was brought in yesterday to vote down a motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
The scale of the crisis
The fact that there are 10,517 officially homeless in this state is of course an outrage. This figure however is an understatement of the scale of this human crisis. Incredibly, it does not include those sleeping rough, in Direct Provision, homeless people in hospitals and prisons, people who are “couch surfing” and those in refuges fleeing violence and abuse.
Homelessness is only the sharp end of a wider crisis. The average rent in Dublin is now €2,000 per month, leading to an unbearable cost of living crisis for working people.
Half a million young people are forced to live at home with their parents. This “locked out” generation are unable to buy or rent an affordable home to live in. Rising rents, the threat of evictions and a total lack of affordable homes is a major factor in fuelling the mental health crisis in our society.
A government that doesn’t care
The present government refuses to build public homes on public lands and introduce real rent controls. They have consistently blocked Solidarity and the Socialist Party’s Anti-Eviction Bill that would ban evictions on the basis of renovations and sale of property.
The government and political establishment simply don’t care. The housing crisis is nothing more than business as usual, a necessary evil as long as landlords, developers, vulture and cuckoo funds rake it in. This is what the capitalist system they represent and defend is about. Our needs, and those of our planet, are totally dispensable as long the the super-rich and big business and private profit generally rule.
“The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go!”- James Connolly
We need to end the rule of this system. We need to build a working class movement that will fight for a socialist economy, where the vast wealth and resources are publicly owned and democratically organised by working class people.
What is needed:
- Real rent controls now — freeze and reduce rent to affordable levels
- Build public homes on public land
- No evictions into homelessness — ban evictions now
- Build a housing movement in communities, workplaces, schools and colleges
- We won’t be divided — take the wealth off the elite for homes for ALL — no to racist discrimination against migrants, Travellers and asylum seekers
- Take the construction industry and banks into democratic public ownership
- Seize the wealth of the profiteers. Take the key sectors of the economy into democratic public ownership
Where the wealth exists to build social and affordable homes:
Ireland’s ten richest billionaires now a combined wealth of €31 billion.
3,000 new millionaires were created in 2018.