| 15.4°C Dublin

Council homes may be in breach of human rights say

THE Government will face major pressure to act on the substandard conditions in social housing complexes if a complaint made to the Council of Europe is upheld, one of its authors has said.

The complaint was lodged on behalf of residents from 20 housing complexes in Dublin and Limerick by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights.

It details poor conditions and a lack of facilities in state housing that, they believe, amounts to a breach of their basic human rights.

Academic and housing expert Padraic Kenna has said that the government will face mounting international pressure to resolve the issues raised if the complaint is upheld.

One development highlighted is Dolphin's House in Dublin.

The Herald previously reported on concerns that a third of residents there are living with mould and almost the same proportion complain of sewage invasion into their homes.

One mum-of-two, Sharlene Dor, said that despite using a bottle of bleach daily to clean the dampness and mould from the walls in her home her two young children are suffering from breathing problems.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy has been involved with those campaigning for a regeneration of the area since 2010.


A regeneration project aimed at improving the conditions in the complex has been pushed back to a summer 2015 start, causing concerns that residents will be left in poor housing for even longer than expected.

Last night a spokesman for the Dolphin's House community said that they will comment 
on the complaint to the 
Council of Europe over the coming days.

Mr Kenna, who lectures in law at NUIG, said that the Council of Europe will decide if the Irish government is guilty of breaching the terms of the European Social Charter.

It took three years of consultations with residents to gather enough evidence to bring the complaint to Europe, according to Mr Kenna.

"The dual function of councils as regulators and landlords is at the heart of the problem," he explained. "Tenants have no means of redress when things go wrong".

It will take up to 18 months for the Council of Europe to make a decision, and if a violation is found the government will have to respond immediately.

"The government will be forced to explain to the Council what they will do to meet the standards set out in the Social Charter," said Mr Kenna.

The complexes listed in the document are severely lacking in "all of the things that you need to have a decent standard of living", Mr Kenna said.