Archive for March, 2015


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Ibrahim Halawa, a 19 year old Dublin born man has been imprisoned, without the right to a fair trial, for nearly 2 years for peacefully protesting in Egypt. Mr Halawa (19) goes on trial on Sunday along with 493 others involved in protests in Cairo against the Egyptian authorities.

He was arrested along with three of his sisters on August 17th, 2013, and has been in Egyptian custody since. His three sisters have been released

CBGk-SdWgAERLwL.jpg largeBelow is a video of Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit calls on Irish government to call for his release and to condemn mass trial and possibility of execution of Irish citizen.

A protest takes place today at 2pm at Department of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

 

People Before Profit TD slams announcement by Tanaiste that she will not change rent allowance caps

rbb housing press conferenceIn a statement this afternoon People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, has slammed the announcement that Minister Joan Burton will not be raising the rent allowance caps.

The Rent Allowance caps are currently totally inadequate and do not come near to the actual rents across the country.  Rents are rising at an average rate of 9.6% in Dublin and the current rent allowance caps have remained the same since June 2013.

The current announcement by the Tanaiste comes after a review of the rent caps by her department.  People before Profit have been calling for this review for well over a year.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “It is unbelievable and frankly insane that the Minister will not raise the rent allowance caps.  How can we base rent allowance on rent levels of two years ago when rents have rocketed over the last two years.

Clearly the Minister has zero compassion or understanding for the suffering of ordinary families.  Every day in my clinic I meet people who are at risk of homelessness or are actually homeless because they cannot find any accommodation within the rent limits.  This decision is a recipe for a disaster and will only serve to accelerate the crisis, increasing the tide of people flowing into homelessness.

The People Before Profit TD added:  “Obviously an increase in the rent caps is not a long term solution but refusing to pitch rent caps at the actual level of rents guarantees that thousands more families and individuals will be faced with crisis situations over the coming months. These families will be left to beg community welfare officers for latitude to prevent them becoming homeless. It’s just not fair to do that to vulnerable people.  

If the Minister is really concerned about the cost rising rents might impose on public funds, the answer is to immediately introduce rent controls and at the same time commence an emergency programme of council house building to relieve pressure on private rented accommodation. Tragically, the government are refusing to introduce rent controls and their social housing programme is completely bogus based almost completely on outsourcing social housing to private landlords.

The only way to get the urgent and radical change of policy that we need to deal with the housing and rental crisis is to have a movement of People Power along the lines of the Right2 Water campaign.  We are hosting a conference this weekend to start building that campaign. 

The Right2Housing conference is taking place tomorrow, Sat 28th in the Academy Plaza Hotel, Cathal Brugha Street from 10am – 4.30pm.

Cllr Barry MartinIn a statement, People Before Profit spokesperson, Barry Martin has called the new developments of Irish Water inaccurate billing a ‘joke’ and shows that it is close to defeat. Reports have surfaced this morning that Irish Water will be issuing ‘hundreds of thousands of incorrect bills’ according to RTE. Mr Martin also said that Irish Water is loosing and getting desperate.
“This shows that Irish Water is being defeated. We need to keep going, keep protesting and maintain the campaign of non-payment”. continued Mr Martin.
Mr Martin said “it has been clear from day one that Irish Water is a disaster. This is just another example proving this point that Irish Water are getting desperate. It has wasted money on consultants, legal fees and bonuses which all have nothing to with improving the water system in this country and now it is continuing its ineptitude by sending out incorrect bills. It is really quite astounding, it is an absolute joke”.
“It is obvious that this is a last, desperate act to try to get people to sign up for Irish Water. They must not be aware of the mass display of public protest last weekend. Tens of thousands of people marched demonstrating clearly that they will not pay this hated water tax” said Mr Martin.
People Before Profit have said that they are deeply concerned about reports presented by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) that rents are continuing to rise and are approaching boom levels. According to reports in the Irish Independent Dublin rents were €104 more expensive at the end of 2014 as opposed to the same time the year before. People Before Profit have reiterated the call for a radical and comprehensive rethink out our housing strategy and the introduction of rent regulation.
Brid-Smith - CopyPeople Before Profit spokesperson and general election candidate, Bríd Smith, has said “we demand that this government do something about this crisis that will only deepen if they rely on private landlords.
“On Morning Ireland today, Senator Aideen Hayden said there are people in ‘generation rent’, well at the moment there are thousands of people in ‘generation homeless’
“We at People Before Profit are calling for a radical alternative social housing policy to be implemented as quickly as possible. Private rental accommodation is not the answer. There is an serious need for rent regulation in this country.
“I would ask the Minister, Alan Kelly, to outline a programme for social housing as a matter of urgency as it would seem that we are sleepwalking through a housing crisis that is getting deeper”. said Bríd Smith
People Before Profit are hosting the Right2Housing conference on Saturday 28 March, in the Academy Plaza Hotel on Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin, starting at 10.30 am and finishing at 4.30 pm.

rbb housingIn a statement this morning People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett announced a Right 2 Housing conference on Saturday in The Academy Plaza Hotel (Cathal Brugha Street) from 10.30 – 4.00.

The conference will bring together long time housing campaigners including Peter Mc Verry, Eileen Short (Defend Council Housing, East London), Mick O Reilly (Housing Action Campaign 1970’s and Louise Bayliss (SPARK).  These campaigners will be joined by Dr Andrew McLaren from the Centre from Urban and Regional Studies in Trinity College and many of those directly affected by the Housing Crisis.

There are currently 100,000 families on the Local Authority waiting lists.  Rents are increasing at an average rate of nearly 10% in Dublin which is forcing many low paid families into homeless services.  The government’s Housing Strategy 2020 promised to deliver 15,800 units in 2015 – but 13,000 of these are a continuation of the state renting from private landlords.  1000 are existing houses and only 1400 will be actual new council houses.

Fr Peter Mc Verry said: “The new homeless are those who can no longer afford to pay the rising rents demanded and those who are losing their homes through reposssession. They have never been homeless before and never thought they would ever become homeless. the experiene of homelessness is degrading and destroying their lives as it has done for so many other homeless people before them.”

Mick O Reilly (Housing Action Campaign 1970’s) said: “I feel very sad that today in 21st century we are being forced to organise to fight for public housing. In the 1970’s the Housing Action Campaign won a victory along with others in forcing the Government to commit to building public housing. Now we find ourselves having to do this all over again but shockingly, this time round the crisis is even worse. It is vital that we come together to put pressure on the state to take this crisis seriously and and urgently build housing to cater for the 100,000 on the waiting list and those that are homeless.

Dr Andrew McLaren  (Centre for urban & Regional Studies TCD) said: “Any predominantly market-based system primarily serves the interests of those with money to pay for it and, of course, those involved in its private-sector supply, who use the system as a vehicle for capital accumulation. Housing is no exception. The ‘housing crisis’ is a reflection of inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth, as is the case the affordability crisis (for some) in accessing health services, education or access to the law.”

Louise Bayliss Single Parents Acting for the Rights of Our Kids (SPARK) said, “The lack of affordable housing, coupled with high childcare costs, has led one parent families being trapped in a social welfare cycle of deprivation and intergenerational poverty.  Affordable housing is essential to ensure the economic recovery is felt by all sectors of society and to prevent a further housing price bubble.”

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said:  “I would encourage everyone who is concerned about housing to come to our conference.  There is not only a crisis in the country – it is a national emergency.  Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering as a result of this government’s policy of privatising housing through all their rental schemes.  Their Housing Strategy 2020 is not only hopelessly inadequate, it is a total mirage.  Minister Kelly announced €3.8 billion for housing last October and absolutely nothing has changed for those waiting for housing or facing eviction. We urgently need a campaign along the lines of the Right2Water campaign that can put thousands of people on the streets to demand housing, rent controls and an end to evictions.”

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Richard Boyd Barrett highlights problems with the assessment process for those who need carers.

rbb housing press conferenceResponding this afternoon to the revelation that 10% of houses in Dun Laoghaire may be contaminated by lead, Richard Boyd Barrett said Irish Water cannot be trusted with this serious public health issue.
The People Before Profit TD said this recent news that 8,500 homes in his constituency may be contaminated by lead in their water makes it even more urgent that the water services be brought back under state control because the health of people of Dun Laoghaire is at stake. Lead contamination poses serious health risk to babies, children and pregnant women.
It is outrageous to think that the responsibility for this major issue would be left in the hands of a private company that has already failed in the most simple of tasks such as fixing leaks.
PBP councillors in Dun Laoghaire have spent weeks trying to get simple leaks repaired on public roads by Irish Water.
The people in these 8,500 homes need to know now who they are and they need to know what action is going to be taken. Can Irish Water seriously still be considering charging people for poisoned water?”

Richard Boyd Barrett TD argues that the Right2Water movement remains strong on Sean ORourke Show on RTE Radio 1 on 23rd March 2015- the day after 80,000 people took part in Right2Water protest in Dublin.