Housing must be a public good

On Wednesday 13 April residents of the Devanny housing estates held a protest in their area and expressed their continued anger at Dublin City Council and the planners involved in this quango as these bodies seek to privatise more public lands.

There was a good turn-out by residents, local political activists, including the independent councillor Cieran Perry, the Community Action Tenants’ Union (CATU), and comrades from the Dublin Branch of the CPI.

Speaking after the event, a Communist Party member, Pól Ó Deoráin, said that the building of false hopes by so-called left-wing parties must stop, as they keep banging on about cost-rental, “help to buy” and “affordability schemes” while they continue to talk about getting young people onto the “property ladder.”

This is no accident. The state pumps billions into the pockets of landlords and developers. They are scroungers. Some of them serve in the Dáil. If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.

Whether it’s HAP, getting councils to pay far over the odds for long-term leases, or this Land Development Agency that has been launched—indebted developers getting a nice price for handing their botched projects over to the LDA—it’s another bail-out for the ruling class.

I don’t recall that being announced for people choosing between a meal and filling the petrol tank. The state serves the interests of developers and landlords. They have it set up so that once people buy a house they are desperate to see its value go up and up. The government is then forced to keep the show on the road by pumping billions more into inflating house prices, wedded to the idea of increasing property prices.

If you had the state building housing, and put a stop to the get-rich-quick schemes for developers, house prices would fall and money would instead be going towards providing accommodation for people.

It’s time for action, and this party will initiate a public demand for public housing. We will not be using the housing issue as a means of getting elected onto the council or other talking-shops. We demand that article 43.2.2 of the Constitution be implemented, which states, in relation to the “rights” of private property:

“The State, accordingly, may as occasion requires delimit by law the exercise of the said rights with a view to reconciling their exercise with the exigencies of the common good.”