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'It's not good enough in 21st century Ireland' - organisations vow to lobby for referendum on 'right to housing'

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(L-R) Ann FitzGerald, BL, Chair of Home for Good, Fergus Finlay, former CEO, Barnardos, Senator Colette Kelleher and Rebecca Keatinge Managing Solicitor, Mercy Law Centre at the Launch of ‘Home for Good: The Housing Crisis and a Proposal to Amend the Irish Constitution’
 Photo: RollingNews.ie

(L-R) Ann FitzGerald, BL, Chair of Home for Good, Fergus Finlay, former CEO, Barnardos, Senator Colette Kelleher and Rebecca Keatinge Managing Solicitor, Mercy Law Centre at the Launch of ‘Home for Good: The Housing Crisis and a Proposal to Amend the Irish Constitution’ Photo: RollingNews.ie

RollingNews.ie

(L-R) Ann FitzGerald, BL, Chair of Home for Good, Fergus Finlay, former CEO, Barnardos, Senator Colette Kelleher and Rebecca Keatinge Managing Solicitor, Mercy Law Centre at the Launch of ‘Home for Good: The Housing Crisis and a Proposal to Amend the Irish Constitution’ Photo: RollingNews.ie

A NEW coalition of organisations has promised to lobby the incoming government for a referendum on ensuring housing rights are protected in the constitution. 

Members of the new Home for Good group include homeless organisations such as Focus Ireland, Simon Community, Threshold, academics Rory Hearne and Senator Colette Kelleher and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions as well as Forsa.

The coalition, which launched today, has promised to lobby the incoming government on a referendum to ensure housing becomes a right.

It claims that it will work to push the government to provide a “clear pathway” to a referendum, which, if passed, would amend Article 43 in the constitution.

Home for Good states that Article 43 “contains substantial and powerful protections for private property rights” by failing to “provide any express right to a home or adequate housing”.

“The group is calling for a national conversation ahead of a referendum to amend the Constitution to better protect the common good by recognising the right to safe and secure housing for all,” it stated.

The group will also be campaigning and engaging with general election candidates in the coming weeks.

“A right to housing is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution nor is there any guidance in the text of the Constitution on how to balance the right to private property with the requirements of the common good,” said Ann FitzGerald, chairperson of Home for Good.

“This is not good enough in 21st century Ireland where we have been in the midst of a housing crisis for ten years and more,” she added.

Senator Collette Kelleher said that 12 bills have been blocked in the lifetime of the last government due to “current property rights provisions of the Constitution”.

“These Bills were designed to protect families from entering homelessness; to declare a housing emergency; and to extend rent pressure zones,” she said.

“They were all aimed at protecting the common good in the face of this awful crisis but they were all stopped by a very restrictive interpretation of property rights in the Constitution.

“The people of Ireland want to see this crisis ended urgently and the Constitution cannot and should not stand in the way,” the Senator added.

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