2017

Working Notes • Issue 80 Editorial

on Monday, 16 October 2017. Posted in 2017, Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, Current

PdfIconEditorial

cover issue 80

When Ireland became an independent State it inherited some appallingly bad housing conditions. This was most notoriously the case in the severely deprived areas of inner-city Dublin, but inadequate and overcrowded housing which lacked basic facilities was also prevalent in towns and villages and rural areas around the country. Over the following seven decades, significant improvements in Irish housing took place, not just because the country (eventually) became more prosperous but because public policy sought to bring this about. Grants and other subsidies provided by the State enabled an increasing number of households to become home-owners; in addition, as a result of large-scale provision by local authorities, tens of thousands of low-income households were enabled to access affordable and secure social housing. This is not to suggest that the policies pursued were always adequate – mistakes were made, most notably the failure to bring about greater social integration through housing and the frequent failure to provide essential social and community facilities in new housing developments.

Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy - Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

on Monday, 16 October 2017. Posted in 2017, Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, Current

PdfIconRebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy – Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness– Analysis of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

Margaret Burns, P.J. Drudy, Rory Hearne and Peter McVerry SJ

Introduction
Providing affordable, quality and accessible housing for our people is a priority ... The actions of the New Partnership Government will work to end the housing shortage and homelessness. (Programme for Government, May 2016)

Against a background of deepening public concern about the increasing number of households in Ireland experiencing some form of housing distress, and in particular the marked rise in homelessness, the Programme for a Partnership Government agreed in May 2016 set out a number of specific commitments to address the country’s housing crisis, and promised that the Minister for Housing would issue an ‘Action Plan for Housing’ within 100 days of the formation of the Government.1

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Homelessness and Social Housing Policy

on Saturday, 14 October 2017. Posted in 2017, Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, Current

Homelessness and Social Housing Policy

Peter McVerry SJ, Eoin Carroll and Margaret Burns

Homelessness

The Continuing Rise in Homelessness
The most disturbing aspect of the current housing crisis is, of course, the extent to which individuals and families are experiencing homelessness.

While homelessness has been rising since at least 2013 there has been a particularly marked increase since 2015. As indicated by Table 1 below, the total number of people living in emergency accommodation more than doubled in the period January 2015 to August 2017 (rising from 3,845 to 8,270). The number of families in such accommodation more than tripled (rising from 401 in January 2015 to 1,442 in August 2017), as did the number of children (increasing from 865 to 3,048). One person in three now living in emergency accommodation in Ireland is a child. There has also been a 32 per cent increase in the number of adults on their own in emergency accommodation (up from 2,441 in January 2015 to 3,235 in August 2017).1

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A Constitutional Right to Housing - A Tale of Political Sidestepping

on Saturday, 14 October 2017. Posted in 2017, Issue 80 Rebuilding Ireland: A Flawed Philosophy, Current

 

A Constitutional Right to Housing: A Tale of Political Sidestepping

Jerome Connolly

Introduction
There is in the Sherlock Holmes canon a particular and often-quoted phrase which comes to mind when scrutinising the housing policies of successive Irish governments over the last two decades. The phrase refers to an incident concerning a dog guarding stables from which a racehorse had been stolen during the night. The curious aspect of this, Holmes remarked, was not that the dog barked but that it did not bark.

The repeated failure of Irish governments to actively address the question of a constitutional right to housing in this country is surely an instance of a dog that did not bark – but should have, loudly and insistently, in the face of the serious and multi-faceted housing crisis which this country has faced over many years and will continue to face for the foreseeable future.

It is not as if the question of inserting a right to housing into the Irish Constitution has been completely ignored in official reports or neglected in the work of academics and of a broad range of NGOs, including church groups; it has not.