Thursday 17 October 2019

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy surrounded by protesters at count centre for second day running

Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was surrounded by housing protesters for the second day running at the RDS count centre as gardai intervened.

The protesters shouted "Murphy, Leo, out, out, out."

Mr Murphy's co-living plan was among the main gripes from protesters with one mother shouting "I don't want my children to live in co-living."

The People Before Profit candidate for Dublin South East, Peter Dooley, who has been eliminated from the local elections, was at the centre of the incident.

Protesters said the Government had a cosy relationship with vulture funds and accused them of neglecting the needs of Irish people with failed housing policies in the burgeoning property crisis.

"You can stick your co-living up your a@@se" the group chanted.

The movement was driven by Mr Dooley mostly who shouted at the minister as gardai stood in his way.

Fine Gael Senator, Catherine Noone, entered the RDS voting hall minutes after the protest and told she did not agree with protesting within election halls regardless of cause.

Minister Murphy turned away when asked if he felt protesting was appropriate within this environment.

"It's not suitable to do that here,it's actual intimidation - its no place to protest, its highly unusual most candidates are convivial and nice to each other," Ms Noone said.

But Mr Dooley said:  "I would expect Catherine Noone to say this isn't a suitable place for protest but let's face it is it a suitable time for families to be evicted from their homes everyday?

"All I wanted was for the Minister to answer my questions and he wouldn't do it.

"I wanted to know why he's allowing citizens of this country, this city, to be evicted from rental homes and homes they own, everyday without taking action.

"A few minutes of discomfort for Minister Murphy is nothing compared to the discomfort of tens of thousands of families in Ireland."

Last week Minister Murphy said young people should be "excited" to live in co-living communal spaces and this caused anger among the Opposition and housing charity, Threshold.

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