Tuesday 25 June 2019

Thousands join march to demand action on homelessness

The event in Dublin was organised by the Raise the Roof campaign.

Crowds outside Leinster House in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
Crowds outside Leinster House in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

By David Young and Aoife Moore, Press Association

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Dublin to demand action on homelessness.

With numbers of homeless people at record levels in Ireland, campaigners criticised the Government’s record on the issue.

The event organised by the Raise the Roof campaign saw thousands walk through the city centre carrying placards and chanting slogans.

Activists made a series of demands, including the construction of more public housing, an end to evictions, more robust rent controls and a right to housing formally inserted into the state’s constitution.

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Eoghan Murphy and Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

They also criticised support levels for homeless members of the Traveller community and asylum seekers living in Direct Provision centres.

There are more than 10,000 adults and children without a home and living in temporary emergency accommodation in Ireland.

The symbolic landmark was passed in February for the first time on record, heaping more pressure on the Government to act.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy have face criticism for their handling of the issue, though both insist addressing the problem is a key priority.

The Raise the Roof coalition is made up of trade unions, community groups and some political parties.

The event, which concluded with a rally outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, came ahead of next week’s local and European elections in Ireland.

Among the thousands taking part in the march was high-profile homelessness campaigner and cleric Fr Peter McVerry.

“Certainly there are more houses being built than before,” he told RTE.

“But far too few houses are being built to really make a difference.

“We need to return to the 60s, 70s and 80s, where we were building seven and eight thousand council houses a year.”

Press Association

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