‘If people are looking for the right to housing, rural Ireland has no infrastructure’

“If people are looking for the right to housing and the right to live, rural Ireland has no infrastructure,” according to independent TD Richard O’Donoghue.

Speaking at the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage debate on the proposed referendum on the right to housing yesterday (Tuesday, November 3), the Limerick TD said he welcomes a constitutional right to housing.

“I have been in construction all my life and I have listened to people in the room talking about building houses and giving people the right to live,” the deputy said.

“When co-living was brought up recently in the Dáil, I voted against it because there should not be any co-living. When we consider the Covid virus today, I do not believe we should have 20 people sharing accommodation and sharing one kitchen and one sitting room.

“I do not believe in one-bed units and there should be no units that have fewer than two bedrooms. If somebody gets sick, they will need someone to cater for them. In addition, the building cost to build a two-bed unit is only 10% more than that of a one-bed unit.”

From a rural point of view

The deputy said that rural Ireland “has no infrastructure and has had no investment” in it, using the example of rural parts of Co. Limerick.

“From a rural point of view and in the context of giving everyone the right to a house, under the Project Ireland 2040 plan, an environmental impact study has to be done for any project that requires planning,” he continued.

I am thinking of rural parts outside the city. If people are looking for the right to housing and the right to live, rural Ireland has no infrastructure and has had no investment in infrastructure over the past ten years, when it has been looking for it.

“If people want a right to live in Oola, therefore, they cannot live there because there is no infrastructure. Askeaton has been 30 years looking for a sewerage plant and, again, people cannot have a right to live there either.

“All I am hearing with regard to the right to live is about people within a city area where there is infrastructure.”

‘Is the right to live only where there is infrastructure at the moment?’

However, the deputy points out that “for people living in an area that has no public transport, or very little, and no infrastructure, where do they get a right to live if they want to live in their own area?”.

He adds that once people leave a large town or city, there is “no infrastructure for them to have a right to live in their own area”.

If there are estates to be built in certain areas, who will the rights be given to?

“We will want to provide housing for everyone, so they can work together in areas. If people have a right to live, do they have a right to live in Co. Limerick?

“Do they have a right to live in an area which does not have infrastructure or investment? Is the right to live only where there is infrastructure at the moment?”