Get up off your arse and fight; housing is a human right.” was one of the chants at the May Day event in Dublin.
Fr Peter McVerry called on the Government to be willing to use compulsory purchase orders to bring empty homes back on the market. “There are almost 200,000 empty houses and apartments in this country. Many of them would be suitable for social housing. We call on the Government to give incentives to the owners to bring those empty houses back into use, and if they fail to do so, use compulsory purchase orders. Those houses lying empty are a scandal.”
Community activist Rita Fagan criticised Minister for Housing Simon Coveney’s announcement last week that he was making 800 State-owned sites available for house building. “That means it’s going to developers,” she said. “On my estate, St Michael’s Estate, that’s 428 mortgage homes. We don’t want mortgage homes, we want public homes that people will be able to rent whether they’re in a job or not. We have to build a different vision.”
One of the biggest contingents on the march were demanding the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, who chanted: “Same struggle, same fight, abortion rights are workers’ rights.”
Migrant rights organisations demanded an end to direct provision, a situation where asylum seekers are entitled to an allowance of €19.10 a week but are not allowed to work.