Protestors confront Tánaiste at UCC over housing crisis

Protestors confront Tánaiste at UCC over housing crisis
Tánaiste Simon Coveney responding to criticisms from the Connolly Youth movement while delivering a talk on Brexit at UCC.

Tensions around the housing crisis reached boiling point in Cork on Monday night after protestors interrupted a Brexit briefing from Tanaiste Simon Coveney.

Security had to be called to a lecture theatre in University College Cork last night after a heated discussion on housing between the Tanaiste and members of the Connolly Youth Movement.

The Tanaiste was in UCC last night to give a talk on Brexit when the CYM questioned him about housing.

The CYM have been raising concerns regarding the lack of affordable housing in Cork, squatting in derelict houses and protesting.

A video captured of last night’s incident shows a member of the CYM being highly critical of the Tanaiste’s party Fine Gael and their performance on housing.

One member left after swearing at the Tanaiste while another questioned him.

“We have no respect and will show no respect to the people who legislate and murder our communities, drive young people to emigrate or suicide and then stand there smiling,” said a spokesperson for the group, speaking to the Echo.

“We feel that it is the responsibility of all young people to stand up for themselves on all platforms against those who exploit them, be they ministers of this state, their employers or their landlords.

“UCC has a tradition of hiding behind formality and 'respectable debate',” they added.

“Did Simon Coveney respectably debate with the people he left homeless? No.

“That is why we were there.” When the Connolly Youth Movement members raised the issue of “unparallelled homeless figures,” the Tanaiste responded by saying the government has helped 2,000 people out of homelessness in recent weeks and that more have been taken out of homelessness than ever before.

He added that the government has committed to spending €6bn on social housing in the next three or four years and a further €10bn in the next ten years.

This will see Ireland’s social housing stockpile grow by 8,000 this year, 10,000 next year and 12,000 in 2020, according to the Tanaiste.

“We’re dramatically changing the circumstances for people who can’t afford their own homes,” he said.

The image of this government as one that does not want to build is false, claimed Minister Coveney.

A spokesperson for the Tanaiste declined to comment further on the matter.

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