Raise The Roof campaign planning protests to build up to major mobilisation over housing crisis

Raise The Roof campaign planning protests to build up to major mobilisation over housing crisis
At the launch today, (left to right) Orla O’Connor (Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland), Sheila Nunan (President, Irish Congress of Trade Unions) Anthony Flynn (Founder member, Inner City Helping Homeless) and Colm O'Halloran (Vice President, Dublin, Union of Students in Ireland). Pic: Rollingnews.ie

Protests over the housing crisis are being planned for Cork and Galway in the spring.

It is one of the initiatives from the Raise The Roof campaign, which was also announced a conference on housing on Wednesday.

It is a follow on from a protest outside Leinster House last October, which was attended by 15,000 people.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions President Sheila Nunan said the regional protests could lead to a nationwide demonstration later this year.

Ms Nunan said: "This isn't just a large urban issue, it's an issue in small towns and an issue around the country. It is certainly gathering momentum.

"Ordinary Irish people fell that this is shameful that we are still not making progress on this and I think that these demonstrations will build up to a major mobilisation later on in the year."

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council, said: “The housing emergency presents us with one of our most serious equality challenges. With some of the highest rates of female homelessness in Europe, this emergency is having a particularly devastating impact on lone-parent families, the majority of whom are led by women.

"Just this week, we heard how 842 children discharged from Temple Street's Emergency Department last year had no fixed home address and that, in the majority, their presentations stemmed from living in completely unsuitable, cramped and temporary accommodation.

"As women often engage in invisible forms of homelessness and because figures do not include the many women and children living in domestic violence refuges or residing in direct provision centres, it is likely official figures do not represent the full extent of the problem we have.”

Colm O'Halloran, Vice President of the Union of Students in Ireland, said students are also victims of this housing crisis.

He said: "They are staying in poor quality private accommodation, in hostels or they are commuting long distances just to get to college.

"Students’ pockets are being robbed of every penny with high accommodation costs and the second highest fees in Europe. The reality is that students are being locked out of education.”

Anthony Flynn, a founder member of Inner City Helping Homeless and representative of the National Homeless & Housing Coalition, said: “The motion that was passed in the Dáil in October to implement a Right to Housing, as well as action against evictions and increases in rental prices across the country, hasn’t yet been implemented by government.

"We intend to take the Raise the Roof campaign across the country as the homeless and housing crisis impacts everyone, from students looking for accommodation to pensioners evicted from the private rental market. This is a national emergency with 4,000 children living in emergency accommodation.

"These children need homes built on public lands to properly develop and live normal lives."

"While official homeless figures sit just under the 10,000 mark we know that the real figure is much higher and with 50,000 mortgages in arrears we need immediate action from the government before the situation worsens - and we need the people of Ireland to join us in demanding a fairer country for all.”

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