herald

Wednesday 19 June 2019

'We got evicted and now pay €700 a month more' - real cost of housing crisis

Thomas Murray at the housing march in Dublin on Saturday
Thomas Murray at the housing march in Dublin on Saturday

A Dublin man who was evicted from his home while his wife was recovering from pneumonia said the couple were forced to spend €700 more per month on new rental accommodation.

Thomas Murray (32), along with other families and children, were among thousands of marchers campaigning for housing equality at the weekend.

Slogans

Mothers and fathers walked hand in hand with their children, carrying banners, and couples chanted slogans including "Get Eoghan Murphy out", at the housing protest in Dublin city centre on Saturday.

Damien Dempsey and Senator Frances Black performed at the Raise the Roof rally, which met at Parnell Square before going up O'Connell Street and finally halting at the GPO.

Thomas told the Herald how he and his wife Sharae had been evicted last year by a landlord who "had a family member moving in".

Sharae had pneumonia and the couple had to hunt for a new apartment during a period when there was a severe shortage of rental properties.

Mr Murray, who works in adult education, said: "I came to the march to highlight the housing crisis. At the moment I'm paying through the nose for rent and there's no security of housing for anyone renting.

"This time last year myself and my wife were evicted from our apartment. The landlord had the usual excuse of moving a family member in so we ended up moving.

"My wife had pneumonia at the time. She's fine now, fully recovered, and we found a new apartment in Smithfield but we are paying 60pc more rent.

"Our last rent was about €1,200 and now it's about €1,900. Both of us are professionals and the issue for us as tenants is we need to be able to live and work in the city.

"There's no security though. A landlord can just come and evict us at any time," said Mr Murray, a member of the Independent Workers Union.

"I've been a tenant in Dublin for 15 years and this is definitely the most difficult time and the most expensive it's ever been.

"Quite a lot of my students experience homelessness and they're experiencing serious homelessness."

It comes as it emerged the Government spent €1.2bn throughout the housing crisis buying up almost 7,200 privately built homes, meaning it was directly competing with first-time buyers in the property market.

New figures reveal how local authorities spent the huge sum buying privately built properties for social housing, even though it would cost the State less in terms of cash outlay to build its own new houses and apartments.

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