Labour’s spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD was today speaking in Dáil Éireann in support of the cross-party motion to enact emergency measures aimed at addressing homelessness. This followed the large ‘Raise the Roof’ housing demonstration outside Leinster House.
Deputy O’Sullivan said:
“Today must make a difference.
“It must make a difference for the thousands of people who are homeless, the tens of thousands who fear losing their homes and all those low and middle-income earners who see no prospect of a secure home to rent or to buy.
“Those people cannot wait in despair while the Government tells us it will be alright, trust us, we know what we doing.
“The reality is that people don’t believe that anymore and they won’t wait anymore.
“There has been a huge rally outside this parliament of trade unions, campaign groups, housing agencies and students’ unions and particularly of concerned citizens who want a fundamental shift of policy to deal with the housing crisis.
“Inside parliament opposition Parties and groups have come together with a common voice and specific proposals that we believe are essential to break the cycle, speed up the delivery of social and affordable homes and arrest homelessness.
“In my view, the most important part of the motion is the need to shift policy from hoping the private sector will do most of the heavy lifting, because they won’t, to publicly led action.
“That means committing sufficient money and public land to build social and affordable homes now and it means protecting those whose homes are rented, rather than the owners of those homes.
“These are the core demands in the motion.
“Changing the Constitution to include a right to a home would alter the balance between the rights to property, already enshrined, and the right to the fulfillment of one of the most basic needs of any person or family, the right to have a secure roof over your head.
“All of the actions called for in our motion make sense if you look at the housing crisis from the point of view of those who need a home rather than those who own property.
“That is the policy shift we are asking for and that the crisis demands.”