John Halligan backs referendum on right to a home

A junior minister has backed calls for a referendum to enshrine the right to a home in the Constitution, saying the protection for vulnerable people is “obviously” needed.

John Halligan, minister of state for training and skills, said the move must happen amid continuing criticism of the Government’s failure to adequately tackle the homelessness crisis.

Speaking yesterday as the Oireachtas housing committee continued to draw up a plan to address the issue, Mr Halligan — who is not a member of the cross-party group — told RTÉ Radio the problem has to be resolved.

Asked if he supported suggestions to hold a referendum on the right to a home, the junior minister said the move was “obviously” needed.

The group yesterday continued its discussions on its first draft report in private before another meeting takes place tomorrow.

The report is believed to include calls for rent certainty, a potential trebling of social housing spend, and the option of a State buy-back scheme for homes held by families at risk of eviction.

Meanwhile, the committee on procedures and privilege is to meet for the first time this evening to discuss continuing legal disputes with businessman Denis O’Brien and ex-Rehab charity chief Angela Kerins, over claims they were mistreated in the Oireachtas in separate issues in 2014 and 2015.

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