Last week our local TD's; Tony McLoughlin T.D. Marc MacSharry & Eamon Scanlon voted down a People Before Profit - Solidarity bill to guarantee a Right to Housing in our constitution. This would have followed over eighty other countries that have accepted this legal right. By doing this they ignored the advice of Fr Peter McVerry and the Peter McVerry Trust, the Simon Community and the constitutional convention. 

All this is in the context of the worst housing and homelessness crisis in the history of the state. People are literally dying on our streets. We lost another person to the crisis as they were in the process of blocking the bill. In Sligo there are over 1100 people on the housing waiting list with only a handful of properties available. Whilst not being a silver bullet, this would have been a significant move in the right direction towards opening the space to take the radical action that is needed to solve this crisis. 

What is clear is Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are completely wedded to market solutions which not only don't work - they have caused and worsened the crisis. Asking private builders to solve our housing crisis is like asking foxes to look after the chicken coup. The truth is this crisis suits some people. Those that are connected to the establishment parties by a thousand strings; bankers, developers, speculators and landlords charging extortionate rent. Their actions become even clearer when you realise that up to 30% of government TD's are landlords themselves.

In People Before Profit's latest budget submission we advocate a state building company tasked with building 20,000 new homes in 2018 and purchasing 30,000 more from the private sector. We need to get building quickly and to rebalance rights in Ireland so that people’s needs come before the right of speculators and vulture funds to profiteer.

Please contact your local TD's through Email, Twitter, Facebook and ask them why they want to let the crisis continue. All the while the people of Sligo and Ireland endure unsuitable accommodation, waiting lists, high rents and thousands of children suffer needlessly under the scourge of homelessness.

Nigel Gallagher
People Before Profit Sligo