Sunday 26 May 2019

Radical action needed to solve housing crisis - Archbishop

Abortion not 'good for women', says Catholic Church leader

Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop Eamon Martin

Cormac Bourke

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said there must be "radical" and immediate action to solve the housing crisis.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said the State must urgently provide social and affordable housing but has also questioned the reliance on the economic and investment model around which the housing market is currently structured.

He has also said family life in Ireland was under threat from the crisis. "Access to a home is to me central to living a family life - which is then a great investment for society."

Archbishop Martin added: "I think 2018 needs to be the year we take the most radical steps necessary to do something about this homelessness crisis. The promises we have heard so far - albeit positive, that there will be an increase in the number of social housing units - these are all good things.

"But those at the cutting edge know it simply won't stop the huge need, that something more radical needs to be done.

"This is an issue for me, and certainly an issue for Government, for communities and for all of us."

Archbishop Martin said the issue was not just one for Christmas. "It's a crisis at Christmas, but in January and February it's still there.

"People need to have affordable housing. We've got social housing, we need to have sustainable mortgages, too. The homelessness issue is what we're seeing on the surface, but there's a much bigger iceberg under the surface.

"We take the right to have a home as a fundamental human right... Family can't exist without a home, and this responsibility falls on us all, particularly Government.

"Continuing to try to put a finger in the dam of homelessness - which is what I think is happening at the moment - is simply containing rather than trying to solve the problem."

He said what was needed was a "deep-level analysis, of the way we make economic and social choices; thinking about the way we allow some people to continue to increase rents way beyond what any typical family might be able to manage.

"The very families, five years ago, who were bringing hampers to the food banks, are now coming to food banks for hampers".

He also said he was "deeply" troubled by the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

"I just don't get it that the measure of a modern country and this is the word that's being used often, is that Ireland needs to be modern," he said.

"I don't believe that ultimately abortion is good for women."

Sunday Independent

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