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Sunday 25 August 2019

600,000 people here 'live in rotting, damp or leaking dwellings'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland are living in substandard housing conditions, a Europe-wide report has outlined.

Despite economic growth over the last decade, housing issues persist across Europe, according to Social Justice Ireland's National Social Monitor.

Cyprus, Portugal and Hungary have the highest percentage of households living in substandard dwellings - which means houses with a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation or rot in window frames or floor.

Finland, Norway and Slovakia have the lowest number living in houses of this kind.

In Ireland, 12.6pc of the population, or 611,982 people, were living in these substandard conditions, according to the Eurostat figures from 2017.

The research comes on the back of a UN report on housing which criticised the Government for allowing multinational "vulture funds" to buy up properties and rent them out at high rates.

The report states that "landlords have become faceless corporations wreaking havoc with tenants".

The Social Justice Ireland report said in Ireland more than one in five tenants are paying market rent over 40pc of their disposable income in housing costs and more than one in 20 are paying 75pc.

It also said that Ireland is among a group of 10 other EU member states who have a challenge concerning access to health care - based on cost, waiting time or distance.

"The level of difficulties in making ends meet is still higher in Croatia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, Spain than it was before the crisis in 2007," the report said.

"On average in the EU, two people in five report difficulties in making ends meet. Even in the most affluent European countries, at least 30pc of people in the lowest income quartile experience difficulties in getting by."

Seán Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said: "While economic growth has indeed led to improvement in living standards and investment in infrastructure and public services, the benefits of this improvement in living standards have been distributed in a grossly unequal fashion. This is true both in Ireland and in other EU countries.

"Ireland and the EU need to examine alternative approaches; they also need to develop social policies that can adapt to changing realities and withstand future shocks.

"We need to move away from a policy of prioritising economic growth over all else. A more integrated approach to policy across the EU is required to meet post-Brexit challenges in Europe."

Irish Independent

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