A major protest rally on the housing emergency is to take place at Cork City Hall on Monday, March 11.
The rally will see trade unions, political parties, women’s groups, student unions, housing agencies and community groups join forces under the umbrella of the Raise the Roof campaign, to demand radical action on the housing emergency.
People will gather at City Hall at 5pm and the rally has been called to coincide with a debate on housing at Cork City Council the same evening. That debate will hear a motion introduced and supported by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn, which calls for radical action on the housing emergency, in Cork and across the country.
The rally will then move to Lapp’s Quay where it will be addressed by a number of speakers, with music provided by performers Karan Casey and Myles Gaffney.
The motion to be heard at Cork City Council mirrors an opposition party motion passed by the Dáil last October, which demanded significant new investment in a programme of public housing construction through local authorities, action on evictions and rent certainty for tenants and the creation of a legal right to housing.
Speaking on behalf of Raise the Roof and One Cork, Barry Murphy said: "The protest rally on Monday is an opportunity for the people of Cork to show their dissatisfaction with failed government policy on housing and to demand action on the single greatest problem facing our society today. We have records levels of homelessness, record numbers on housing waiting lists and huge levels of insecurity in the rental sector. We have had housing crises in the past and central to their resolution was the provision of public housing through the state and local authorities. This crisis will not be solved - in Cork or nationally - until we see a major programme of public housing construction initiated.
“We need to see a major change of policy and to see the measures endorsed by the Dáil in October fully implemented at national and regional level,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Murphy noted that the motion to be heard at Cork City Council on March 11 already enjoyed “significant cross party support” and said all parties who wanted to see a resolution of the housing emergency should back the initiative.
Raise the Roof comprises a broad range of civil society organisations and community groups, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and its affiliated unions, the Union of Students in Ireland, the National Women’s Council and the National Homeless and Housing Coalition. The campaign is convened locally by the One Cork movement.
Raise the Roof staged a major rally in Dublin last October in support of the opposition party Dáil motion on housing, which saw up to 15,000 people in attendance.