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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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Today, people will march saying 'Housing is a Human Right'. But will anyone listen?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about…

24/11/2015. Building New Houses For the Homeless Building work on a modular housing site in Ballymun. Source: Sam Boal

One year on since homeless man Jonathan Corrie died within yards of Leinster House, Ireland’s homeless crisis has undoubtedly got more acute and complex.

With campaigners saying that about 70 families a month are being made homeless, the highly competitive rental market is hampering efforts to provide emergency accommodation. It’s a case of short-term fixes being plastered over long-term problems.

Today, there’ll be a protest march from the GPO to the Dáil at 5pm to send a message to government that ‘Housing is a Human Right’. What’s perhaps significant about the march is its wide support base.

Homeless charities like Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust will join unions like Unite and Siptu and political parties like Sinn Féin and People Before Profit. Left-leaning movements are often attacked by the government for being too fragmented, but this is one issue where there seems to be broad consensus.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD says the government’s plans for social housing have been “misguided and inadequate”:

We need real rent controls that will put a halt to the spiralling rents that are driving many working people into situations where they can’t pay rent and end up in homeless services.

Climate March - London

Meanwhile, across the water there’s a fascinating political power struggle between the Labour Party’s grassroots membership and their MPs. Despite claiming to have the backing of the members that elected him, leader Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to allow a free vote for Labour MPs on whether to extend air strikes to Syria.

It probably avoids a situation where the majority of his front bench revolts against Corbyn, but also ensures that Prime Minister David Cameron will have enough votes to start bombing in days. The vote to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria will take place tomorrow.

Corbyn certainly doesn’t come out looking well from the entire debate, but rogue MPs who obviously want him out aren’t smelling of red roses either. It’s clear that Labour is still badly wounded by the experience in Iraq and it’s fair to say that it’s influencing their decision making.

Still, children and civilians will undoubtedly be among the dead when British planes start bombing, so at least having a real debate about these matters is preferable to blindly following David Cameron’s lead.

The agenda

  • Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald opens proceedings in the Dáil chamber to take questions at 2pm.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny is up after that to face leaders questions at 3.15 pm.
  • On a busy day for the Dáil committees, the Health Committee will hear about HIV trends in Ireland and treatment and prevention practices at 4pm.
  • A government-sponsored amendment to the laws surrounding residential tenancies is up for debate after 5pm.
  • A Sinn Féin private member’s motion that seeks to update the definition of ‘homelessness’ will be debated after 8.30pm. 
  • The long-awaited Legal Services Regulation Bill, which seeks to add a layer of regulation to the legal profession, is in its final Seanad stage at 6.15pm. 

Inside Leinster House

Ireland’s Equality Minister was forced to confirm that he knows what a phone is after this misleading tweet.

What the others are saying 

  • Legislation to reduce the length of bankruptcy to one year comes before cabinet today, according to reports in a number of papers. 
  • Newly released ‘Clinton emails’ show that an advisor to the former Secretary of State accused David Cameron of “threatening recklessly to destroy a generation of work” in Northern Ireland, according to The Irish Times.
  • The Irish Independent reports that Fianna Fáil’s Longford branch is to hold a ‘kangaroo convention’ over the imposition of a female general election candidate.
  • The Justice Minister will today announce a plan to link Ireland’s passport system to an EU database on suspected terrorists, according to The Irish Times. 

Russian spy ring Source: Niall Carson

In case you missed it

Good day for..

Pro-choice politicians who seek to repeal the Eighth Amendment during the next Dáil. Yesterday’s judgement in Belfast was a boon to the campaign.

Bad day for… 

Alan Kelly. Being forced to deny that you’re plotting against potential leadership rivals is not what you want to be doing before an election. The anniversary of Jonathan Corrie’s death also brings the minister’s role into focus.

On the Twitter machine 

The Northern Ireland decision on abortion led to much speculation about what it’ll mean for the Republic.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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