Housing and homelessness – the bitter truth

The truth about the housing and homelessness crisis is bitter and hard to face. It is that, for all Eoghan Murphy’s fine words and initiatives, it is getting steadily worse and its going to get worse still.

Socialist Worker

Housing and homelessness – the bitter truth

The reason is very simple. It is that the Fine Gael Government is ideologically committed to a market based, capitalist solution to the crisis and there is no market based capitalist solution. 

There are lots of possible solutions but the Government rejects them all because they are based on state intervention which infringes the sacred rights of private property.

They could declare a National Housing Emergency – there is one after all – and use compulsory purchase powers to secure tens of thousands of empty residential properties for public housing. NO! It would infringe on property rights.

They could freeze all economic evictions and house repossessions. NO! It would infringe the property rights of landlords and banks.

They could bring in rent controls. NO! That would interfere with the right of landlords to make profits.

They could halt the sale of public land to private developers. NO! How can you build houses without ‘incentivising’ developers? That’s how the market works.

They could reconfigure NAMA as a state company and use it to ACTUALLY BUILD PUBLIC HOUSING FOR PEOPLE.

Appalling idea! Don’t you realise that would interfere with the free market and the principles of private property.

This is why People Before Profit is putting a bill to the Dáil on the first day of its return (20 September) to amend the Constitution to make housing a basic right and to insert the right to secure, affordable housing ahead of the right to private property

Will this bill be passed? It is most unlikely. So what can be done?

Two things would make a real difference: 1) putting enough people on the streets to scare the living daylights out of the establishment, as with the water charges; 2) voting out the landlord parties i.e Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour.

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