Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.14 17 Jun 2020


Share this article


A referendum on housing - promised in the new programme for government - could be a "game-changing moment" if delivered, according to Colm O'Gorman.

The Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland says the pledge for a referendum in the document is 'vague', but that there have already been recommendations for a vote to enshrine rights such as housing.

Speaking on Moncrieff, Mr O'Gorman said that the Constitution Convention recommended such a referendum back in 2014.

He observed: "Housing is a human right - it should be enshrined in the Constitution.

"The convention recommended a referendum on the full-range of rights, we'd like to see that properly responded to. It could be a real game-changing moment.

"In practice, it [wouldn't] mean everyone has a right to a house tomorrow, but rather that when the government is making decisions... it has to make policy that's evidence-based and outcomes-focused, and transparently so. So you could challenge a decision, if for instance that decision was unreasonable."

The programme for government also makes a pledge to end and replace direct provision within the lifetime of the next government.

Mr O'Gorman said the current system was "never meant to be a permanent solution".

He said: "Critically, they've said that the new system that's put in place will have to be one that's fully human rights compliant... but also that it will be not for profit. I think that's a huge reassurance to an awful lot of people.

"[The services] are paid for by the State at the moment, but private corporations are being paid vast amounts of money to provide services that have quite often proved to be defective and deficient."

An expert group on direct provision is due to publish their final report later this year, and Mr O'Gorman said that will indicate what the replacement system could look like.

Occupied Territories Bill

Meanwhile, Mr O'Gorman said it's "very, very disappointing" that the Occupied Territories Bill not in the programme for government.

The Amnesty Ireland boss explained: "The bill doesn't just apply to Israel and the occupied territories there - it's [a] bill that would apply in any context where there were illegal settlements following on from an illegal occupation."

He also said that safe zones around facilities providing abortion services - a measure promised in the programme for government - "need to happen urgently".

He explained: "Women and girls should be able to access abortion care in dignity and safety without having to run the gamut of protesters.

"There's nothing to say that people can't protest against abortion - they're perfectly entitled to do that. But they shouldn't be able to protest outside a health facility, [protests that could] intimidate or limit the capacity of women and girls to be able to access lawful care in this State."

Main image: File photo of Colm O'Gorman. Picture by: RollingNews.ie

Share this article


Read more about

Colm O’Gorman Housing Referendum Programme For Government

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Best Of Newstalk

Best Of Newstalk

00:00-06:00

Share

Up next

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

SPLANC

SPLANC

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-07:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on