Over the past few years, we have witnessed the power of the ballot when deciding on two important issues by referendum. First was the marriage equality referendum and most recently we had a massive ‘yes’ vote on the 8th. Perhaps now it is time to mobilise once more and put the right to a home into the Irish Constitution.
The right to housing can be found in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), ratified by the Irish parliament in 1989. The right to housing can be explained as the right to adequate housing, which means that the State is responsible to ensure that affordable housing is available to all of its citizens, contingent on all available State resources. Significantly, this does not mean that everyone should be provided with social housing, rather it means that social housing should be available to those who need it.
This obligation does not fall short at merely providing temporary shelter or emergency accommodation as we have witnessed in recent times. It should be considered, in general terms, to mean that housing should be available to the public to purchase and should be commensurate with income levels and at a level that does not compromise other basic needs. People should not have to make financial choices between paying the rent or buying food, or getting access to health care or buying books for school, and the government is responsible for managing the housing market and to take action when necessary and vindicate the rights of its citizens.
Interestingly, the Irish Government signed the ICESCR Optional Protocol in 2012 but has been hesitant when called upon to ratify this protocol. Ratification would provide Irish individuals and groups with a potential alternative legal remedy when violations of economic, social and cultural rights occur. It has also been most regrettable that the Government’s policy paper called ‘Rebuilding Ireland: Action plan for housing and homelessness (2016)’ did not specify any plan for including the right to housing in the Irish Constitution, and more or less ignored the recommendation of the Convention on the Constitution in 2014, when it decided that economic and social rights such as the right to housing merited explicit recognition in the Irish Constitution.
The view of the Constitutional Convention is also supported by Leilani Farha, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for adequate housing who stated in June of this year at the launch of ‘Making a case for a Right to Housing’ by the Simon Communities that Ireland should “either constitutionalise the right to housing or, failing that, legislate the right to housing.”
The housing crisis is not expected to end in the coming years. It is expected to continue by design. The crisis is underpinned by an ideology that would like to see a larger percentage of working-class people and families renting property from private and corporate interests over the long term, instead of being provided with social and affordable housing by the state. This strategy seeks to deny lower income families the opportunity to purchase a house that they can afford and have a place of their own to call home.
The private sector may eventually be successful in providing units to the market for rent, but low-income workers or even the average worker will not be able to afford to pay the rent for a family home at current market prices. Significantly, low to average income families will not be able to purchase these rental units in due course and count previous rental payments against the price of the house. This leaves these workers with little security of tenure and in a precarious housing situation and without a safety net. Overall, I would consider this ideological view as the root cause of the current homelessness and housing crisis.
Next year, we will have local elections and a possible general election. If you are like me, and want to see an end to the current housing crisis, and prevent such crises from reoccurring in the future, you should demand that your local representative supports the call to include the right to adequate housing in the Irish Constitution, and together we can hold our government to account for its actions.
Local Area Representative for the Social Democrats
Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance
Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]
Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.
It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.
Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.
As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.
“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.
Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.
Golf club launches Summer Series competition
By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]
By Sean Moriarty
Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.
The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.
Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.
“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”
Investigation continues into New St fire
Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week. The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7). It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting […]
Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week.
The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7).
It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting and ducting on the first, second and third floors. There was heavy smoke throughout the hotel but all guests were evacuated safely.
The landmark hotel, which also houses the famous Danny Mann pub, has not yet reopened, and local Gardai are still investigating its cause.
“The investigation is ongoing,” a Killarney Gardai Station spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are establishing the full facts in relation to the fire.”
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