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Raise The Roof

'This is a countrywide problem': Cork activists to protest government's handling of housing crisis

Today’s demonstration comes after a major housing rally held in Dublin city over the weekend.
WE’VE ALL COME together from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all different cultures to say to the government that it failed, it’s continuing to fail and we’re not going away. 

Following Saturday’s housing and homeless rally in Dublin, activists, politicians and members of the public are expected to gather in Cork city tonight participate in a demonstration over Ireland’s housing crisis.

Raise the Roof protest Crowds outside Leinster House in Dublin during a Raise the Roof protest in October Niall Carson Niall Carson

Since last summer, the country has seen an increase in activists raising awareness over housing issues, as the rental crisis in Ireland deepens and homelessness continues to increase. 

Take Back The City (TBTC) over the summer held numerous protests in Dublin city centre, alongside a range of occupations of properties in the north inner city. 

In October, thousands of people gathered outside the Dáil for Ireland’s first ‘Raise the Roof’ protest over the government’s handling of the housing crisis. Raise the Roof is made up of a group of trade unions, housing activists and campaign groups. 

In December, thousands again turned out for a major rally held by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition (NHHC) in Dublin. Two days ago, the coalition held another rally, which saw people take to the streets again in anger. 

Today, ONE Cork and a number of other groups are coming together at 5pm outside Cork City Hall to hold the county’s first Raise the Roof protest, in the build up to a national rally in May.

“It’s really a huge coming together of a multitude of different social groupings to try get the government to see sense and realise the reliance on the private sector is failing, has failed and will continue to fail,” Barry Murphy, housing spokesperson for One Cork and deputy general secretary of OPATSI said. 

Raise the Roof protest Crowds of housing protestors gathered outside government buildings on 30 October Brian Lawless Brian Lawless

Murphy noted that the housing crisis isn’t just a Dublin-centric issue, and that it’s an issue in towns and villages around the country, too. 

“This is a countrywide problem, it doesn’t only happen in the cities,” he said. 

The government really needs to get a grip and say we’re three years into Rebuilding Ireland … it hasn’t worked. 

Murphy also hit out at the recent homeless emergency accommodation figures for January, which showed that there are now a combined total of 9,987 people homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland, a significant rise of 234 people from December.

He raised the point that there is a large number of people who are homeless in Ireland who are not included in the monthly figures – meaning that the figure has, in reality, far surpassed 10,000.

The monthly number recorded by the Department of Housing records only those in Section 10 funded emergency accommodation. More on that can be read here

“We have people who are homeless who are not even counted – people who are couchsurfing, we have overcrowded conditions with young families living with parents, we have people waiting eight to 10 years on the housing list,” Murphy said. 

“I think it’s appalling.” 

002 Raise the Roof protest_90555532 (1) Students at the Garden of Remembrance during October's Raise the Roof rally Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

Tonight’s rally

The first Raise the Roof rally in October was held to coincide with a debate in the Dáil on a private members bill on housing drafted and signed by 47 TDs from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, Solidarity, Social Democrats, Labour, the Green Party, Independents4Change and others.

Murphy said that tonight’s protest is being held to call on the government to act on the motion which was passed in the Dáil in October. 

Similarly, speaking ahead of last Saturday, NHHC co-chairperson Tina MacVeigh told that the Dublin rally was being held to highlight that motion which called for “practical measures to be put into place which would at least put a block or a stop to the spiralling out of control of the housing crisis”. 

“The government have not listened and we need to be on the streets to say to the government the people spoke last year, not only on the streets but also through our elected representatives,” she said.

“Our voices manifested in that motion, the Dáil voted for it, you are ignoring it. We will not be ignored.”

Murphy added: “We’ve all come together from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all different cultures to say to the government that it failed, it’s continuing to fail and we’re not going away. 

Unless you take on board our suggestions, this is going to turn into a bigger movement than the water movement ever was. 

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