Sinn Féin is calling for a referendum to enshrine a right to housing in the Constitution.
The party has brought forward the bill to coincide with this Saturday’s planned Raise the Roof rally in Dublin City Centre.
It has insisted that it can provide a basic floor of protection for those unable to access secure or affordable accommodation in Ireland.
Speaking outside Government buildings this afternoon, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said the plan would be no silver bullet for the housing and homelessness crises – but would force the Government into greater action.
“What legal experts have told the Oireachtas Housing Committee is that having this right in the Constitution would force this and future Government’s to actively consider how they are going to realise that right in budgets; in polices and other things,” he said.
Tonight Sinn Féin will propose a Bill in the Dáil on establishing a constitutional right to housing.
Placing the right to housing in the Constitution would provide a basic floor of protection for those unable to access secure or affordable accommodation @EOBroin #RaiseTheRoof pic.twitter.com/EvX5UcjmKX
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) May 14, 2019
He said similar rights already exist in many other European Countries, adding “we are firmly of the view that it is one of a number of measures required to tackle the housing and homeless crises.”
He said this week’s Daft.ie Rental report, which found that average rents across the country have reached an all-time high of €1,366 per month, highlights the need for the bill.
“In the last year, we have seen 10 counties with double digit inflation,” he said. “Every county bar Dublin with inflation twice the Rent Pressure Zones.”
“Here in Dublin, while the increases have been 7% – again above the rent pressure zones – we are now looking at €1,700 to €2,200 per month for rent.
“Clearly any young person, any young professional couple or anybody with half decent income would not be able to afford those kinds of rents and that just shows you that there is an entire generation of people who are locked out of affordable rental or purchased accommodation.
“All the more reason why we need to see a right to housing.”
The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there was a record 10,305 people accessing emergency accommodation in Ireland in February.