Housing inspectors conducting a sweep of flats in Dublin have found the vast majority of flats to be in breach of regulations, according to news reports yesterday. Inspectors visited 589 flats on the North Circular Road and issued warning notices to 483 of them.
This represents 82% of the buildings inspected. Obviously this is a small sample but it is indicative of the decreasing standards of living that people are expected to endure in this country.
100 years on from the 1913 Lockout our Labour Leaders are standing over some of the most serious attacks on workers since William Martin Murphy and the employers of Dublin launched their offensive against the tram workers. In that fateful year the issue of poor housing was highlighted in the city with the collapse of two tenement building s on Church Street resulting in the death of seven residents.
A housing Inquiry was set up into the living conditions in Dublin’s slums which found that about 45%-50% of city dwellers were living in inhabitable conditions. James Larkin campaigned on the issue of workers housing from this time up to the 1940s, giving evidence in 1939 to the Dublin Housing Inquiry. By that time a further deterioration of conditions was evident with an estimated 56% of people living in inhabitable conditions.
This week’s report is shocking but not altogether surprising considering we have been undergoing a serious decline in our living standards since the end of the so called Boom. This decline has compromised the housing conditions of some of the poorest people living in urban areas. Only last week in the Dáil Joan Collins TD raised the issue of the dampness and the general deterioration of local authority housing stock. A number of deaths in recent years from hypothermia, fires, a basement drowning and inhalation of lethal fumes are a testiment to this deterioration.
The Irish Worker in 1913 chose to highlight these issues and many Labour candidates stood for Corporation Elections on a platform of better housing conditions for the urban poor. Our Labour Leaders today are involved in introducing a home tax, cutting children’s allowance, the Croke Park sell out, the selling off of our natural resources and the bailout of banks, they are 100 years 100 million miles away from the people.