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Human rights group takes up case on housing

AN international human rights agency has made a complaint of behalf of 130,000 Irish people living in run-down housing developments around the country.

The International Federation of Human Rights has complained to the Council of Europe about living conditions in the residential complexes, many of which are in Dublin.

The agency accuses the government of failing to provide basic living standards in 20 dilapidated housing schemes.

The wide-ranging complaint highlights health concerns like damp and mould, sewage problems as well as issues like anti-social behaviour and crime.

It comes as an Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) study has found that the country needs to build 90,000 homes in the next seven years.


Among the housing developments covered by the human rights organisation's complaint are O'Devaney Gardens, Dolphin House, and St Theresa's Gardens in Dublin.

The president of the Paris-based agency, Karim Lahidji, said: "The right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other rights and the appropriate development of families and children.

"It is unacceptable that those who live in social housing accommodation are not adequately protected against violation of this right."

The complaint is being taken under the European Social Charter - a treaty that guarantees social and economic human rights and it accuses the state of being in breach of five regulations surrounding housing, social protection and anti-discrimination standards.

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing crisis in the supply of housing the ESRI report has said that 90,000 units need to be built up to 2021.

As many as 54,000 housing units are needed in Dublin alone to meet demand, 60pc of the overall numbers needed.

A further 26pc of the housing needed is in Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

Houses prices have spiralled in the capital in the past year due to the housing shortage.

Dr Edgar Morgenroth of the ESRI has concluded that the property market has a massive oversupply in rural areas, but major shortages in Dublin and the east coast generally.

"The requirement for additional housing units is projected to be highly concentrated in the Greater Dublin area," he said.


However, he pointed out that most house building last year took place outside Dublin with just 1,360 units out of 8,300 built in the capital.

Last month Tanaiste Joan Burton committed to building 25,000 houses a year following estimates from the State's Housing Agency that level of construction is required.

"We will set in train a construction programme to triple the number of houses built to 25,000 a year by 2020," she said.

Meanwhile, the Society of Chartered Surveyors has called for the construction of more European-style family apartments to tackle the current shortage. It also called for a reduction of VAT on new home building to tackle the housing supply problem.