IRSP activists were busy this week postering vacant properties that could be used to "House the Homeless". With public housing lists at breaking point and families forced into the private sector the party has been actively promoting the idea that empty properties could be taken into public ownership and converted to habitable standards in order to ease the strain on public housing lists.
The IRSP in Wexford have been busy highlighting the upcoming meeting in the town aimed at establishing an association for tenants of private landlords in the area. Party activists have been delivering leaflets in the areas with a high density of private tenants in order to make people aware of the meeting. Posters were erected around Wexford town as well.
The Irish Republican Socialist party (IRSP) has vowed to poster every empty house in North Belfast in a bid to highlight the number of homes sitting unoccupied despite housing need in the area being at crisis point.
Last month Finance Minister Sammy Wilson revealed that in North Belfast almost 2000 homes lie unoccupied. The minister said in the Duncairn area alone a total of 594 homes are lying empty.
In January the North Belfast News revealed that 2403 people are on the current Housing Executive waiting list, 966 of those on the list are Catholic, 454 people are Protestant and 983 are either described as another religion or religion undisclosed.
Paul Little from the IRSP said they will be putting posters on every derelict property in North Belfast to highlight the fact that the housing waiting list would be dramatically reduced if the empty homes were handed over to those on the list.
“The fact that there are close to 2000 empty properties while so many people are sitting on the waiting list is just a disgrace,” he said.
“There are people who have been on the waiting list for years who have no hope of getting rehoused while these properties just sit going to waste. This is an issue that needs to be highlighted by everyone.
“I know there is work going on to try and reduce the housing waiting list but more needs to be done. The solution is that there are good houses sitting empty while the waiting list grows.”
He said by rehousing people in the empty properties it will reduce the waiting list as well as improve the local communities.
“It will not only mean that the waiting list will go down but the neighbours of these derelict houses know that they attract antisocial behaviour,” he said,
“If they were handed over for people to live in it would stop kids gathering them and bring and end any antisocial behaviour. It is time this was brought to an end.”
The IRSP in Dunloy Co Antrim today put up posters in the town highlighting the party's housing campaign. As well as that leaflets were handed out to local people explaining the campaign and what the party hopes to achieve.
The IRSP in Downpatrick took part in the nationwide launch of the party's Housing Campaign with a demonstration outside the local Housing Executive offices in the town. Posters were displayed and information lealfets were handed out to members of the local community.
Members of the IRSP protested outside a former bank of Ireland building in Lifford Co Donegal today to highlight the fact that in Ireland there are more empty buildings than there are people on housing waiting lists. Members of the party held poster which read:
"THIS EMPTY BUILDING COULD BE USED TO HOUSE THE HOMELESS"
To tie in with the Irish Republican Socialist Party's
housing campaign, the Wexford IRSP have called a public meeting to establish a private tenants association.
The meeting will take place in White's Hotel, Wexford on Tuesday 13th March at 8pm.
The association's aims would be to protect the rights of people living in rented private property in the Wexford area.
In general working people and those on living social welfare who rent from private landlords have very little support if they find themselves in a dispute with the property owner.
In the last budget the government claimed that nobody's basic income was reduced. This is untrue as rent supplement was cut by at least six euro per week across the board. This is the fourth time the rent allowance has been reduced since the austerity measures began.
Tenants were told by the government to negotiate cuts in their rent to make up for this loss in income, however people on rent allowance are usually among the most vulnerable members of society and many landlords simply refused to make any reduction in rent.
There are many other issues that effect tenants, such as poor living conditions, deposits being withheld unjustly, insecurity of tenure and short term leases which mean the rent can be increased suddenly if the landlord feels he can get more income from the property.
There will be speakers on the night discussing these issues and the audience will be invited to say what they would like the association to work towards.
A committee will be elected and a programme of action established.
This meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
Derry IRSP staged a protest outside the Housing Executive
head office in Derry city centre to highlight the current crisis in housing
throughout the country. Approximately twenty IRSP activists staged the protest
while handing out literature to passers-by. There was great interest from the
public on the housing issue to which they were largely unaware of.
This is the start of our campaign to educate and agitate for
our housing rights while the British Stormont regime impose their Tory
masters’ wrath on the working class. Derry IRSP will highlight all empty
properties in the city and bring them to the attention of the housing bodies
with questions as to why they are inhabited while a homeless problem remains.
We will educate people on their rights as stated in our document and what they
can do to contribute to the campaign.
According to the housing executives report Derry currently
has approx 3,000 on the housing waiting list, and 1,500 of those are homeless.
The report also states that there are approx 1,500 vacant private dwellings
throughout the city which equals the amount of homeless. So why are they
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. With the new
changes made to the shared accommodation rate where the age has been raised
from 25 to 35, we can expect a major surge in homeless applications so things
are only going to get worse.
The IRSP in Cork took part in the party's national launch of the Housing Rights - Human Rights campaign today.
In a statement the local cumann of the party has challenged the establishment partys record on housing. The statement said, "The government parties Fine Gael and Labour and before them Fianna Fail have been abject failures on the issue of decent affordable housing in Ireland and with the IMF and ECB demanding more and more austerity this situation can only get worse. The IRSP have today published a policy document that we believe offers real solutions to the housing crisis. We would recommend that as many people as possible download and read the document for themselves and join us in our campaign to highlight the very real economic injustice that is ongoing in Ireland today."
The IRSP in Belfast got the housing campaign underway with a demonstration outside the Housing Executive's Belfast area office.
The party used the protest in order to distribute information relating to the crisis in public housing provision across Ireland and to bring to the public's attention the fact that housing benefit rules are changing soon which will make it more difficult to access quality public housing, especially for single people under the age of 35.
The party reported a very enthusiastic response from local people and a real sense of anger at how tory cuts are being implemented by their puppet regime in Stormont.
The party in Belfast plan more actions in the coming weeks.
The Irish Republican Socialist Party in Tyrone launched the party's national housing campaign in Strabane on Thursday 16th February.
The location chosen was the local offices of the Housing Executive, not because of any issue with the staff at the centre, but as a symbolic protest against ever more harsh Housing Benefit regime that is currently being implemented by the Housing Executive on behalf of the Stormont government.
The party distributed over 500 leaflets to passersby and recieved a warm response from local residents.
More actions are planned for the coming weeks which we believe will show those implementing cuts that economic attacks on the poorest will be fought against.
The IRSP in Dublin have taken part in the nationwide launch of the party's innovative housing campaign. Members of the party handed out literature outside Fingal County Council's offices in Blanchardstown.