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Sinn Féin calls for the Right to housing to be guaranteed throughout the EU

12 March, 2004

Sinn Féin South EU Candidate and Spokesperson on Social Inclusion, David Cullinane has today called for the Right to housing to be guaranteed and protected throughout the European Union.

Speaking today, Mr Cullinane said:

"In some EU member states, the Right to housing is enshrined within the constitution. In other member states, this right is not enshrined. Ireland is a prime example of the fundamental inequality that exists between member states on housing. The failure of the Irish Government to protect or enshrine the right to housing severely undermines the human rights of Irish citizens.

"The right to housing is recognized in a variety of European instruments including Protocol No. 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 16 of the European Social Charter of 1961 - which was strengthened by Article 31 of the Revised European Social Charter of 1996. The European Parliament has also adopted at least two resolutions on this issue, one in 1987 stating that the right to a home should be guaranteed by legislation and that member states should recognize it as a fundamental right, and one in 1996 stating that non-implementation of the right to housing on the part of states 'is a breach of the principles and democratic values on which European society is based'.

"Ensuring the realization of this right across the EU during the Irish Presidency, would represent a very positive contribution by this State to the future of Europe and its peoples.

"The Government is very quick to call referendums on other issues. Unlike the proposed referendum on the issue of Irish citizenship and the question of the rights of citizen children of non-national parents, the necessity for a constitutional right to housing has been extensively discussed in the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on the Constitution. This is the issue upon which a referendum should be held on as a matter of urgency. Sinn Féin demands that the Irish Government hold a referendum on this issue, and promotes the basic human right of housing within the constitution." ENDS

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