As members of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of Ireland, Community Law and Mediation were kindly invited by the Law Society of Ireland to make submissions to the emergency Dáil Committee on Housing and Homelessness. The views expressed in the briefing paper and the presentation made to the Dáil Committee on the 10th May 2016 are the views of Community Law and Mediation.
The briefing paper addresses various difficulties applicants for social housing support face. Whilst housing legislation itself does not prevent non Irish Nationals from applying for social housing support, reliance is placed on the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) (No.2) Regulations 2006 when identifying whether an applicant household is eligible for social housing support. The regulations are often erroneously misinterpreted. The briefing paper explains how separating couples and households in mortgage arrears who are deemed to be not cooperating with their financial institution are quite often deemed ineligible for social housing support, due to the availability to them of alternative accommodation. The briefing paper also explores problems facing separated parents in sourcing a home large enough to accommodate themselves and their children. The paper also mentions the difficulties faced by households attempting to have their application prioritised on the grounds of medical need. Finally, in presenting these issues at the hearing, the general lack of availability of legal aid to persons involved in a dispute relating to a dispute over a right or interest over land was also addressed.
The Dáil Committee have heard from many individuals and organisations and on 17th June 2016 issued their final report which includes recommendations relating to the provision of legal aid.