7 June 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD for Cork-North Central, Mick Barry, has called for immediate rent controls ‘with teeth’ to be introduced as two UN experts raised concerns about the huge increase in homelessness in Cork.
The UN experts also criticised the government for their lack of a response to their concerns despite raising them last September.
Mick Barry TD said “There has been a growing housing and homelessness crisis is Cork for the last number of years yet the government have failed to act. The warnings by the UN special rapporteurs on adequate housing and water and sanitation are falling on the same deaf ears now.
“Rents in Cork City over the past three years have increased by over €204 a month. This is what is driving the rapid increase in homelessness, even the UN recognises that.
“The only response by the government have been Alan Kelly’s rent certain measures which have only given certainty to landlords. They have jacked up rent increases on the double.
“The UN experts have also been heavily critical on the ability of homeless people to access water and sanitation. This needs to be addressed by providing access to public drinking water and the provision of sanitation facilities.
“The right to housing must come before the rights’ of landlords to line their pockets. We need to see real rent controls introduced that have teeth which won’t allow for rents to skyrocket and force families out on the streets.
“The UN also highlights the need to increase rent allowance which the Anti-Austerity Alliance has advocated for a number of years. The government’s logic that an increase in RAS will result in higher rents has been blown apart by the fact that rents have rapidly increased anyway, refusing to increase it is only forcing families on to the streets.
“After 9 months the government has still failed to respond to the UN. I am calling for them to respond in detail before the summer recess.”