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Council of Europe finds State in breach of housing obligations
Pic: RollingNews.ie

24 Mar 2021 / EU Print

State in breach of housing duty – Council of Europe

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), part of the 47-nation Council of Europe, has published its latest findings on the follow-up to previous decisions under the “collective complaints” mechanism of the European Social Charter (ESC).

In respect of Ireland, the ECSR examined four decisions on issues as follows:

  • The right of An Garda Síochána to organise and collective pay bargaining, including the right to strike, (complaint CC83),
  • The right to housing of Travellers (complaint CC100),
  • Adequacy of local-authority housing (CC110),
  • The right to organise and collective bargaining in the military (CC112).

All four cases are not yet fully in conformity with the charter provisions invoked, although progress was noted in certain cases.

Collective bargaining in the military has now been brought into conformity while other violations remain unremedied.

The State remains in breach of its obligations under the ESC to provide appropriate housing to Travellers and social-housing tenants in Ireland, by failing to take timely and effective action to address the inadequate conditions in social housing and to ensure access to housing supply. 

Collective issues

Following amendments to the Industrial Relations Acts signed into law in July 2019, members of an Garda Síochána and their representative bodies may now access the services of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court to resolve collective issues.

The report indicates that the Irish Government has embarked on a number of initiatives such as the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (NTACC), the statutory body appointed to advise the minister in relation to any matter concerning accommodation for Travellers.

An Expert Group on Traveller Accommodation was established in September 2018 to make recommendations that will improve the delivery of Traveller accommodation nationally.

One in four Traveller households has six or more people, compared with one in twenty households for the general population.

Almost one in three Traveller households with children has six or more people.

Advocacy groups

Traveller advocacy groups have stated that overcrowded accommodation and a lack of housing is forcing Travellers to move into caravans, which is putting them at risk of eviction notices.

Eviction notices can have a significant impact on the mental health of families and children, who are already in a vulnerable position, the report says.

“Legal aid does not extend to eviction proceedings, which can have a disproportionate impact on Travellers. Furthermore, evictions can often take place in the evening, which means that Travellers cannot access legal advice in a timely manner,” it continues.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland