Social Democrats Co-Leader Catherine Murphy has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to extend an official State invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha. Ms Farha visited Ireland this week on an academic visit rather than an official State visit.

She explained that without being here in an official capacity she is not permitted to issue specific recommendations regarding the current housing crisis. Deputy Murphy said that Ms Farha had pointed to specific international examples of things that are working well and said it would be useful for Ireland to work with her with a view to adopting similar approaches.

In response the Taoiseach said he was open to the idea of inviting Ms Farha and would speak to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy on it.

Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil Catherine Murphy said that Government’s current housing strategy was almost entirely reliant on a private market-led approach and is designed to put the State at arms distance from responsibility.

he said the continued refusal of the State to provide either a constitutional or a legislative right to housing was a failure of the State to protect the human rights of citizens.

Deputy Murphy said:

“Eighty one countries internationally have adopted a right to housing approach. There appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the concept of what a right to housing means. It does not mean that every person can demand a house; rather it means that the State is obliged to ensure that it produces housing strategies which ensure the availability of housing that is affordable and accessible to all.”

“Extending an official invite to the UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha would show a willingness on the part of this Government to meaningfully address the escalating housing emergency in this country.  Her work has proven to have produced positive results in countries that were experiencing similar housing issues to Ireland and while she is in office we should use the opportunity to avail of such practical expertise.”

ENDS

13th June 2018