During the Spring General Meeting that concluded on 8 March last, bishops voiced their deep concern on the impact of the Government’s decision to remove the ban on evictions on families and individuals, at a time of crisis in housing provision in Ireland, coupled with added pressures created by demand and the lack of supply.
Bishops said, “Evicting people from their home resonates deeply in our national psyche and social history. Eviction will lead to a sharp increase in homelessness, which is already excessive. The Church – through our parishes, communities and pastoral agencies – witnesses on a daily basis the effects the housing crisis has on individuals and families. The anxiety that this decision is causing across Ireland is immense. There is a responsibility on the State to increase housing supply, to protect people, to ensure fair prices and security of tenure.
Regarding Ireland’s housing crisis, bishops recalled the words of Pope Francis that “there is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.” As referenced in our 2018 Pastoral Letter A Room at the Inn?:
“Housing has become the area where some of the deepest inequalities in our society is evident, not just in terms of housing conditions being experienced, but in terms of the impact of housing expenditure on the level of income available for other needs and on wealth distribution.”
In a call for social solidarity, bishops renewed their support for an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland, first made in 2015, to provide for an explicit right to housing, saying, “housing is a basic social good and cannot be considered as merely a market commodity.”