LY member Jake Murray reflects on Wednesday’s massive Raise the Roof Rally in Dublin, where thousands took to the streets to demand an end to the current housing emergency.
On Wednesday the 3rd of October over 10,000 students, trade unionists and housing activists thronged the streets outside Leinster House to demonstrate their anger at the current government’s failure to address homelessness, prevent rising rents or provide pathways to home ownership for the working people of Ireland.
The Raise the Roof rally was supported by every political party (Fine Gael being the sole and obvious exception), ICTU, USI and activist groups including the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Labour Youth was planted firmly at the front of the crowd and the contingent was able to witness, up close, speeches that were both rousing and heartbreaking. The substandard effects of Fine Gael’s laissez faire housing policies and their consistent inability to aid the plight of those unable to secure decent, affordable accommodation was summed up succinctly by Peter McVerry. He asserted that a 12 year old child could tell you that they are not working.
He was probably being too generous.
While Labour Youth and all those present can be proud to have participated in such a successful demonstration there is a stark parallel between the numbers present at Raise the Roof on Wednesday and the current homelessness crisis. For every activist, politician and trade unionist who came out on Wednesday to show solidarity for those affected by homelessness, there is an equal or greater number of people who went to sleep in Ireland that night without a home.
For every student who attended, there is an equal or greater number of children who go to bed without a home.
Housing is a human right. Labour will continue to fight for that right to be vindicated for all.