Protests against poverty, housing evictions and repossessions spread across Ireland


Protests against poverty, housing evictions and repossessions spread across Ireland

Steve James

5 January 2019

Protests and occupations have been held in Ireland against impossible housing prices, high rents and homelessness. On December 1, around 15,000 people marched through central Dublin. The march was in remembrance of Jonathan Corrie, a homeless man who froze to death in 2014 outside Leinster House, home of the Irish parliament.

Figures released by the Department of Housing last July showed that nearly 10,000 people in Ireland are living in emergency accommodation. Housing campaigners suggest the real figure is double that. According to the Simon Community, some 81,000 people were living in insecure accommodation. Three hundred more people, including 86 children, were made homeless in November alone.

Testifying to pervasive levels of poverty in the city, some 3,000 people, including many elderly and children, queued December 20 for Christmas food parcels outside Dublin’s Capuchin Centre.

In Cork, 328 adults were in emergency accommodation in July. This represented the highest monthly number of adults in emergency accommodation—an increase of 32 percent in 12 months and a rise of 59 percent in two years.

Rural Ireland is gripped by the same social tensions. Since April this year, the Irish Farmers Association has been operating a land sale boycott against sales imposed to extract debts from farmers. Some 2,500 farmers are said to be affected.

On December 11, two brothers and a sister, all in their 50s and 60s, were forcibly evicted from their farm in Strokestown, County Roscommon. This was in pursuit of £300,000 in debts, said to be owed to the Belgium-based KBC Bank of Ireland and dating to 2009. The move followed a High Court judgment for debt…

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