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Should you have Constitutional Right To A Home? Episode 92

Niall Boylan | October 12, 2023
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    Should you have Constitutional Right To A Home? Episode 92
    Niall Boylan

In this explosive and divisive episode, Niall delves into a pressing question: Should you have a Constitutional Right To A Home? This inquiry arises in the context of an upcoming referendum to vote on Article 39 and 43 of the Irish Constitution. Peter Dooley, an influential figure known for his role as Co-Founder of the Dublin Renters’ Union, Co-Founder of the Stop The War Campaign, and Independent Political Candidate, joins Niall to discuss the implications of this critical issue.

The episode begins by addressing a newly published study that links private renting to faster biological aging. Researchers from Essex University and Adelaide University have found that the stress associated with renting has a more significant impact on health than experiencing unemployment. This research underscores the potential epigenetic consequences of housing problems and advocates for housing as a target of health interventions.

The program for government, jointly agreed upon by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Green Party, has committed to holding referendums on housing and extending the franchise to Irish citizens living outside the State. However, progress on a housing referendum has been hindered by disputes over recommendations for constitutional reform. The Housing Commission, responsible for developing options for this referendum, has yet to agree on a final wording or approve its report.

The Irish Constitution explicitly protects the right to private property in Article 43 but makes no mention of a right to housing. It recognizes that the right to private property must be regulated in the interests of social justice and permits limitations on this right for the common good. The absence of a constitutional right to housing has sparked debate over the balance between property rights and the common good.

Niall opens the lines to callers, resulting in a lively and diverse discussion. Some callers firmly believe that housing should be considered a fundamental right, essential for well-being and dignity. They argue that housing as a constitutional right would ensure equal access to shelter, prevent discrimination, and address homelessness through government policies like affordable housing initiatives and rent controls.

In contrast, others contend that while housing is crucial, it should not be enshrined as a constitutional right. They argue that this could have unintended financial consequences and may lead to intergenerational dependence on the state for welfare and housing.

As the episode concludes, Niall provides a recap of the main points raised by callers, offering listeners a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted issues surrounding housing rights and the ongoing debate in Ireland.

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