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"Nobody is born knowing how to be homeless" - hundreds march on GPO in protest at housing crisis

The march was organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition.

tyrr Source: Cianan Brennan/TheJournal.ie

ABOUT 300 PEOPLE have marched on Dublin’s GPO this afternoon in protest at the ongoing housing and homeless crisis.

The march, organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, took a meandering route from the Custom House, along the south quays and then back up the far side to O’Connell Street.

With several unions and representatives from many different housing pressure spots, including the residents of an apartment block facing eviction in Tyrellstown, the general air was an angry, exasperated one.

28/05/2016. National Homeless and Housing Coalitio Source: Sam Boal

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, one of the protesters, June Tobin Maher from Bray, said she hopes that “the government will be forced to do the right thing”.

“We’re not accepting it any longer. There’s no shame to being homeless. The entire shame lies with the government,” she said.

More than anything, Tobin Maher said that she hopes that the many vacant properties around the country can be freed up to ease the housing shortage.

20160528_145559 Source: Cianan Brennan/TheJournal.ie

28/05/2016. National Homeless and Housing Coalitio Source: Sam Boal

“There are thousands in the hands of Nama that are being sold off to vulture capitalists, and then being rented out to people who can’t afford to pay,” she said.

I want to see an increase in rent allowance, I want to see homeless people off the streets. The situation at present is just not acceptable.

Maher and her companions were specifically protesting the plight of 16 people made homeless in Bray following the closure of a hostel there. Two of those men are currently protesting outside the buildings of Bray town council.

pic2 Source: Cianan Brennan/TheJournal.ie

“It’s not natural and it’s not right,” she said.

Nobody is born knowing how to be homeless.

Walking relatively incognito among the protesters was Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy.

He said: “we have to do on housing what we did on water, which is to build a massive social movement from below.”

We need to force the government and the 1% back on this, particularly with the demand that a right to home comes before the right of developers and banks to make money
We need the State to be involved in significant social house-building. Like there’s a choice to be made here, between the developmental model that has completely failed, or what’s right.

Murphy said that he “remains sceptical” about such a choice being made by the new government without “significant pressure from below”.

Left to their own devices the government will do nothing, because they think there’s a market solution to this, which there isn’t.

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