Fianna Fáil bringing motion to establish constitutional right to housing

It would amend Article 43 of the Constitution, which covers private property rights
Fianna Fáil bringing motion to establish constitutional right to housing

By Cate McCurry, PA

Fianna Fáil is bringing a private member’s motion to amend the Constitution to ensure that every citizen has the right to housing.

The Bill would see a right to housing inserted into the Constitution of Ireland.

It would amend Article 43 of the Constitution, which covers private property rights, to include that “the State recognises, and shall vindicate, the right of all persons to have access to adequate housing”.

It would also include that “the State shall, through legislative and other measures, provide for the realisation of this right within its available resources”.

The private member’s Bill is being debated on Friday afternoon.

It comes a day after a similar Bill proposed by People Before Profit passed the second stage in the Dáil.

While the wording of the bill differs slightly from Fianna Fáil, it too calls for a right to housing to be included in the Constitution.

Fianna Fáil Seanad spokeswoman on housing Senator Mary Fitzpatrick said that housing has “always been a number one priority” for the party.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the current policies in place to deal with the country’s housing crisis need to go further.

“It’s about the State going further, it’s about the State making a permanent commitment to every citizen that they have access to a secure and affordable home,” she said.

“During the pandemic it’s been obvious as to how important a home is to our own personal safety.

“There’s far too many homeless people in our society, it’s an issue we are addressing.

“There are far too many people who cannot afford to buy their own home or even a secure rental so we are securing that in the legislation.”

She said the “unrealistic” policies put forward by other parties is not the way to go.

“We want the State to make a permanent commitment that every citizen has a right to their home” she added.

“Our Constitution protects and vindicates the right to private property but we want to counterbalance that right.”

She said that she hopes for cross-party support during the debate of the Bill in the Seanad.

Ireland
Amendments to the Constitution of Ireland require a referendum. Previous referendums were held on abortion rights and equal marriage rights (PA)

The Senator said that while the Bill would not solve the housing crisis, it would require the state to make a commitment to provide housing for everyone, similar to rights such as education and privacy.

“It will also commit government to bring in long-term and sustainable policies to deliver housing,” she added.

“We think it sends a strong signal that the State is committed to house building and we are not going to get caught into the market-led approach.

“The amendment does have support from outside the political arena and that is very important. This will be a matter for citizens to decide.”

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