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It’s time to put the right to a home in our constitution




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.

John O’Shea,

Local Area Representative for the Social Democrats


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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]




By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]




The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley


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