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Thousands of young people have emigrated from Ireland, and things continue to get difficult for those who are left behind.
The days of affordable housing in Dublin, if they ever existed, are over. Rents in Dublin have increased by 14% in the last year, with a 22% increase over the last 3 years. This situation is seen right all across Ireland, to a lesser extent.
Many houses are in very poor condition and are being rented at exorbitant, exploitative prices by vulture-like landlords eager to capitalise on what the media and politicians alike have dubbed the “Housing Crisis”.
Social Welfare has been heavily cut for under-25s and with so many potential tenants, due to the lack of housing, landlords feel confident to reject people on Rent Allowance (a housing assistance payment).
Social Housing is insufficient and many people spend years on the waiting list. Because of the prioritisation of families in the allocation of social housing, many people without children find themselves waiting a long time.
These conditions, along with various other attacks on people’s living conditions that have come with successive governments’ austerity policies, have led to an increase in homelessness and increasing pressure on homeless people.
All across Ireland, there are currently thousands of empty properties which could be turned into viable homes. Squatting is not a criminal offense under Irish law, and while civil proceedings can be used to remove someone from a house or other building they are squatting, it is not strictly illegal to squat in Ireland. A community of political squatters has emerged from this situation… and there is potential for much more.