Europe to scrutinise State tenants’ rights

by Gazette Reporter

A collective complaint on sub-standard housing conditions across 20 local authority housing estates across Ireland including estates in Dublin, has been deemed admissible for further investigation by the European Committee of Social Rights.
The landmark collective complaint was lodged in July 2014 and results from five years of evidence gathered across 20 communities. In Dublin these were Bluebell, Dolphin House, Ballymun, Cherry Orchard, O’Devaney Gardens and Charlemont Street.
It alleges that issues such as poor building standards and failed regeneration of housing estates violates key articles of the Revised European Standards, which Ireland signed up to in 2000.
The European Committee of Social Rights response was made public earlier this week after adopting its decision on March 17. Local authority housing estate tenants were assisted in compiling the complaint by agencies including Community Action Network and The Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway.
Earlier this week, tenants spoke of living with dampness, mould, sewerage, poor maintenance and pyrite.
Debbie Mulhall, a resident of Dolphin House Estate, one of the country’s oldest local authority estates, and one of the few estates in the country earmarked for regeneration said: “The timeframe for regeneration is slipping drastically. It is already well over 18 months behind time and at this rate it could be years before it really happens. In the meantime, tenants continue to live in conditions that we allege are unacceptable, unhealthy and uninhabitable.”
Dr Padraic Kenna, head of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at the School of Law at NUI, Galway said it was ironic the “same standards expected for private tenants are not applied on behalf of the State’s own tenants”.
Government has until May 28 to make a written submission on the merits of the complaint.
Cllr Tina McVeigh (PBP) said this was a welcome development as such housing issues arise “constantly” in the council. She said funding from the Government was needed to tackle the problem.
Dublin City Council was not in a position to comment at this time.

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