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'We can't afford to rent in city' - musicians in plea for housing help

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Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath are still looking for a home

Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath are still looking for a home

Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath are still looking for a home

Like hundreds of other couples in Dublin, Sorca McGrath and Simon Cullen - aka award-winning electronic duo Ships - are finding it almost impossible to find a home.

The pair were given three months to vacate their rented Cabra property when the landlord said he was returning to live in the house.

The notice period expires next week, but with rents soaring and properties being snapped up as soon as they come on the market, they still have not found a new home.

"We are just two of thousands of people in this situation," said McGrath, who called on people to make their voices heard and demand housing.

"We need to keep talking about it and screaming about it so that something is done. We're coming into the winter now and it's horrifying, the thought of more people dead on the streets.

"I'm not an expert, but there are two things I would say need to be done. First, we have a ridiculous number of vacant sites and I think there should be laws against leaving these sites idle.

"Second, landlords agree long-term rental agreements, then change their minds. That's not the way it should be. It doesn't happen in other countries."

She said she and Cullen would not mind paying a mortgage or a long-term rent.

"We just need a place we can call our home," she said.

One of the problems they face is the reluctance of banks to lend money to self-employed people.

"We have never missed a rent payment in our lives, but with the price of rent, it's impossible to save," said McGrath.

She also pointed to the unfairness of the housing market.

"If we were paying a mortgage, it would be cheaper than renting," she added.

She blamed high rents for driving creative people out of Dublin.

"That really sucks the soul out of the city. Not just musicians, but lots of creative endeavours. A lot of the flea markets have gone."

The couple have been searching as far afield as Dundalk for a new home, but they feel this is far from ideal.

Support

"We are from Dublin. We want to stay here. This is where our family and support structures are."

Since speaking publicly about their plight, the couple have received a lot of support from people, including offers to look after their two cats.

"It's heartwarming," said McGrath. "But we still haven't found a place to live."

In March, Ships won the RTE Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year 2017 with their debut album Precession.


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