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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Emer Moreau/The Journal
Cost of Living

'This is not a crisis for everybody': Protesters blast inaction on cost of living at the Dáil

The protest was organised by the Cost of Living Coalition.

THE COST OF living crisis in Ireland is not affecting all tiers of society equally, a protest outside the Dáil heard this evening.

The protest, organised by the Cost of Living Coalition, coincided with a debate on a People Before Profit bill which would link rents to people’s incomes.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told The Journal at the protest that his party did not think it was acceptable that the Dáil was about to rise for the summer in the current economic climate.
unnamed (3) Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /
“They have not taken measures to deal with the homelessness crisis … and where people are really suffering as a result of prices in energy, electricity, food prices rising.”

The protest comes after the government last night defeated a no-confidence motion tabled by Sinn Féin.

’Trail of human misery’

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said after the debate that he did not believe the public wanted a general election at this point in time.

Boyd Barrett said the Taoiseach must be “talking to different people than the ones I’m talking to”.

He said there was “a trail of human misery” in his clinic every week as people struggle to pay bills in the face of spiralling energy and food prices.

“These people are very angry and very desperate.”

Addressing the 50 or so attendees of the protest, Boyd Barrett said: “The cost of living crisis isn’t a crisis for everybody.

“It’s a crisis for students. It’s a crisis for workers … but it’s not a crisis for the very wealthy in our society.”

A number of Sinn Féin TDs, including leader Mary Lou McDonald and housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, also briefly attended the protest.

unnamed (4) Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Rent Reduction Bill

The Rent Reduction Bill 2022, sponsored by People Before Profit, was debated in the Dáil this morning.

It proposes that rents be calculated based on local and national median incomes. It also proposes that certain types of accommodation be classed as “luxury”, and that these units comprise no more than 5% of all rental housing in an area.

The government will oppose the bill: Minister of State at the Department of Housing Peter Burke said that “it would in all likelihood quickly face significant risk of legal challenge and is likely to have a severely detrimental effect on the supply of much-needed rental property.”

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy hit out at the number of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians who owned rental properties, saying if they absented themselves from the debate, “there is every chance this bill would pass.

He said if the government wished to argue that the proposals in the Bill were unconstitutional, it should “defend the case in the Supreme Court if that is where it goes.

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