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Spotlight on housing at rally

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 4:48pm

It’s estimated that 1,500 people thronged the streets of Cork city to highlight the housing crisis this week.

The Raise the Roof rally on Monday saw people from far and wide huddle together as the rain pelted off them to protest against the lack of affordable housing and rising homelessness across the country.

Various organisations joined forces to demand that action be taken to fix the housing crisis. Trade unions, political parties, women’s groups, Travellers’ groups, students unions, housing agencies and community groups came together for the rally.

It was coordinated by ONE Cork and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and was supported by all trade unions across the city. It took place outside City Hall and across the river at Lapps Quay, too. Raise the Roof coordinator Barry Murphy told the Cork Independent said he was very happy with the turnout.

He explained: “The weather was absolutely appalling and we had up to 1,500 people turn up for it, some of who were homeless and some who are not but felt they had to attend because of the crisis. We all know someone who is affected and have relations that have no prospect of ever owning a home. There was a real carnival atmosphere at it despite the weather too.”

The rally was held before a Cork City Council meeting on Monday where the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn wanted a motion passed to tackle the crisis.

The motion included calls for:

A dramatic increase in supply of local authority-led public and affordable housing by increasing capital spending on housing to €2.3 billion and prioritising the delivery of housing on public lands.

Making it illegal for landlords (banks and investment funds) to evict tenants and homeowners (who are in mortgage distress) into homelessness which is compounding existing problems and negating any improvements.

Establishing a constitutional right to housing.

Encouraging and engaging with other campaigns, including the Raise the Roof campaign by the trade union movement, to arrive at a multi-faceted approach to solving housing problems in Cork and across the country

Councillors voted on the motion and it passed by 14 in favour, one against and one abstention.

While most supported the Lord Mayor’s motion, like Cllr Thomas Gould from Sinn Féin and Solidarity’s Fiona Ryan, others had concerns about it.

Fine Gael Cllr Des Cahill felt the motion was too broad while Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said that some people will read ‘a right to housing’ as a right to free housing.

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