The AAA’s national director of elections, Joe Higgins, set out the strategy at a press conference in the constituency yesterday and slated the Labour Party’s record on housing.
He insisted that the AAA-PBP shared platform approach to the election offers a credible radical alternative but he ruled out going into government with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or Labour.
He also issued a stark warning that Cork City — where rents are rising faster than anywhere else in the county — could face a similar housing crisis to that in Dublin.
“Unless there is immediate action in Cork, it can get worse,” he said.
“We have an horrific situation in Dublin where young families are simply being turfed out by private landlords with rents being put up by €150 to €200 a month, to the most recent case of a family hit with a €350 a month increase.
“We have then the barbaric situation of young families thrown around hotels, hostels, and B&Bs and a lot of psychological trauma, great emotional and general distress for the parents.”
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Mr Higgins was flanked by AAA Cork City councillor, Mick Barry, who is out to unseat Ms Lynch in the four-seat constituency, and Cork East AAA candidate, Ciara Leonardi Roche, 22.
AAA candidate Fiona Ryan is standing in Cork South Central.
Ms Roche said despite talk of a recovery, families are still struggling.
She, her partner, and their young son were made homeless last March and struggled to find an affordable rental house. She said that they had lost various state supports, but were lucky enough to have the support of family.
“But not everyone is like that. Some families are ending up in hotels, or even worse, on the streets. I want to kickstart that recovery for people like us, not just the rich,” she said.
Mr Barry launched a blistering attack on Labour’s record on housing and slated the Dáil’s 41 landlord TDs for failing to tackle spiralling rents.
“We have a parliament that’s stuffed with landlords. Some 41 of the 166 TDs — that’s one in four — are landlords. How can you expect a parliament dominated by landlords to bring in strong rent controls,” he said.
He also accused Labour of “completely caving in” on rent control measures following pressure from the landlord lobby and Fine Gael.
“It was a betrayal of working people and young people in particular — just one of dozens of broken promises and betrayals from Labour. We need a new force to represent working people and AAA and PBP is attempting to step in to that space,” he said.
Mr Higgins, who later addressed an anti-water charges meeting in Ballyvolane, said the party will continue to lead from the front on the boycott of water charges.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Cork North Central TD, Jonathan O’Brien, who is hoping to win a second seat for the party with running mate, city councillor, Thomas Gould, handed nomination papers in yesterday with the party’s Cork South Central candidate, county councillor, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.