Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking in the Dáil on his Bill [The Thirty Fifth Amendment to the Constitution (Right to a Home) Bill] to include the right to a home in the constitution accused the establishment parties of “not believing in the right of people to a home”.
Commenting on the government’s housing strategy Teachta Adams said:
“No amount of fancy words, spin or plamás can disguise the government’s disastrous housing policy. By any measure the government has failed. You have failed families. You have failed families. You have failed pensioners. You have failed children.”
The former Sinn Féin leader also urged people to support the Raise the Roof demonstration in Dublin on Saturday.
“In January, with great pomp and ceremony in the Mansion House we marked the meeting of the First Dáil, and in particular the Democratic Programme of the Dáil. It’s worth recalling what the programme said on the issue of housing.
“It said: ‘…we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare’.
“One hundred years later, citizens in this state have no legal right to a home.
“And James Connolly the great Irish revolutionary in 1899 predicted all of this. He wrote: ‘After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won’t touch socialism, if you won’t pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped with the arms of the Irish Republic.’
“Today, the courts regard a lending institution as having superior rights over the occupier or home ‘owner’. Citizens and families in crisis have had no effective remedy through the courts.
“In the Programme for Government, it says that the government will be judged, and I quote; ‘in how we address the issues of housing and homelessness’. Out of your own mouths, you are condemned. No amount of fancy words, spin, or plamás can disguise the government’s disastrous housing policy;
“Its failure to prevent increases in rents; To end evictions; The huge numbers of people on the housing waiting lists; The fiasco of local councils refusing to draw down available funds for housing for Travellers; And the number of citizens, and especially children, who are homeless; These all expose the inability of this government to govern in a fair way.
“By any measure, this government has failed. You have failed families. You have failed pensioners. You have failed children. The March figures are the worst ever for homelessness. In March 2018 there were 60 people homeless in Louth, Monaghan and Cavan. In March 2019 that figure is 173.
“The government’s housing strategy – Rebuilding Ireland – is not working.”