Thousands protest in Dublin over deteriorating housing issue
Holing banners and placards and chanting slogans, the protestors marched through the city's busiest road O'Connell Street, drawing large crowds of audience and causing a temporary traffic disruption in parts of the downtown area, but no violence was reported throughout the protest.
Organized by National Homeless and Housing Coalition, a group which represents 50 groups including local communities, trade unions and homeless groups, the protest drew the participation of representatives from various circles of the country including some opposition party leaders.
Addressing a rally of the protestors, Tina McVeigh of the opposition party People Before Profit said that the government has ignored a cross-party motion calling for a number of measures, including a constitutional right to housing and an end to evictions into homelessness.
Homeless campaigner Peter McVerry said that the government had lost control and housing and the housing problems will continue as long as it is in the hands of the private sector.
Protestors called for a number of measures including a declaration by the government of a housing and homeless emergency and more rent controls as well as more social and affordable housing.
The protest was organized two days after the Irish government released a homeless report showing over 1,200 more people became homeless as of the end of this October over a year ago.
The rise in the number of the homeless people, which currently stands at about 10,000 in the country, is largely due to the rapidly rising rents and home prices in Ireland.
Official statistics showed that the average price of a residential property in Dublin was almost 100 percent higher than February 2012 when the local property market crashed to a lowest point following the financial crisis and the average rent in the city is now about 30 percent higher than the peak time before the crisis with a one-bed room rent standing as high as 1,000 euros (about 1,140 U.S. dollars), forcing many families to live in the government-provided emergency accommodation at hotels, hostels and other residential facilities. ■