Campaigners sleep outside SDCC office to protest rent hike for tenants

by Padraig Conlon

On a freezing cold night last weekend, a group of local homeless campaigners slept outside the council offices in Tallaght.

They were protesting recent rent hikes for council tenants and OAPS as well as highlighting the scourge of homelessness in the local community.

Dublin South West Housing Action, a community-based housing group, and co-hosts and fellow campaigners, Protest Against Homelessness Less Talk More Action, began their 12 hour sleep out at 8 pm on Friday night.

With latest figures revealing over 10,000 on the housing list in the SDCC area, both groups said they were protesting to put pressure on elected members of the council to do more regarding the housing crisis.

Chris Harvey from Protest Against Homelessness in Ireland, Less Talk More Action Group told Dublin Gazette more compassion is called for.

“The crisis is getting worse, nothing seems to be improving so we really feel we need to step up and create awareness for this, to try and create a movement, to get people to unite and try and make a difference,” he said.

Frustrated

“I’m frustrated because if you imagine homelessness happening to your family member; a sister, brother, parent, if you found out they were on the streets you would react right away wouldn’t you?

“So why is it the case when it’s not an immediate care of yours that you can’t have a heart towards another human being?

Paul Murphy, RISE Dublin South West TD was also present on Friday night to lend his support to the campaigners.

“I think something important to highlight is that there are people getting rich off this crisis,” he said.

“They are the big landlords, the developers.

“Their profits are through the roof and in my opinion they are the people who Fianna Fail and Fine Gael represent, so we need to get them out.

“We need to build a big protest movement like the water charges to demand the building of houses, and we need rent controls, it’s quite simple.

“We need to make this a social issue, that’s another reason why protests like tonight’s are so important.”

Lisa Maher from Dublin South West Housing Action said the normalisation of the crisis is “shocking.”

“I’m here because the homeless crisis has gone out of control and there’s people living in big tenement houses called hubs.

“It’s truly very shocking what is going on and how it seems to be accepted as “normal.”

“It’s not only people sleeping on the streets that’s become “normal”, people living in hubs, people trying to rent a home, spiralling rents that people cant afford is all now accepted as “normal” and that is completely wrong.

“How has this happened in our country? What’s going to happen to our grandchildren?

“It’s the fault of the government and the rotten system we’re living under.

Dublin Gazette contacted SDCC to get their thoughts on the sleep out.

In response to our query they said: “South Dublin County Council has no comment.”

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