HOUSING activists are set to take to the streets of Cork city this afternoon to highlight the issue of dereliction and to demand an end to the ongoing housing crisis.
The rally, which takes place at noon on Grand Parade, is the latest in a number of rallies organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition (NHHC).
The umbrella group, with branches around the country, is made up of political parties, NGOs, community groups, and trade unions.
A spokesperson for the NHHC said the coalition wants to see a “use it or lose it” policy applied to the owners of derelict buildings.
“If all derelict properties were brought up to standard and made available to rent or buy, property prices and rents would drop.
“It suits speculators to keep these buildings derelict and ensure that market prices remain high.
“We need an alternative housing policy that has the interests of ordinary people at its heart, and not those of landlords and property developers,” the spokesperson continued.
The rally comes as the latest Daft.ie report revealed that the average cost of renting a house in Cork city now stands at more than €1,539 a month while a report published by the property website in December showed that the average price of a house in Cork city now stands at €313,000.
“We need housing based on the needs of the people, not profit,” Gary Baus, a member of People Before Profit Cork, who will be attending today’s rally, told The Echo.
“Speculators are leaving homes derelict to ensure market rents stay high.
“We are calling for public housing to be built on public land, an end to dereliction, an end to evictions, bank repossessions, and sell-offs to vulture funds.
“And most importantly we demand a national referendum on a constitutional right to housing.”
Sinn Féin councillor for the city’s north-west ward, Mick Nugent, is also planning to attend the rally alongside some of his party colleagues.
“The issue of dereliction is something we have been highlighting in the city council and in the Dáil. We have met council officials and urged the council to be proactive in dealing with dereliction in Cork city,” he said.
Meanwhile, Solidarity TD for Cork North-Central, Mick Barry said he is “100 percent” in support of the rally.
“I wish the marchers all the best and hope that housing protests both in the city and across the country grow bigger and prosper.”