Arthur Griffith slams Dublin Housing Inquiry
La Misère à Dublin: two young boys taking shelter in a doorway in the city. Published in Paris - Le Miroir, 18 Rue D'Enghien, 23 November 1913. Photo: National Library of Ireland, PD HP (1913) 1

Arthur Griffith slams Dublin Housing Inquiry

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Published: 22 November 1913

Arthur Griffith has launched a scathing attack on the Dublin Housing Inquiry, saying that he hoped ‘no sensible citizen of Dublin will be deluded by the bogus Housing Inquiry. It will sit for a number of days, continue not to put the essential questions, and report to order. The report will recommend that ‘the State’ should provide a million or a million and a half for urban housing in Ireland, and while Dublin waits for the provision – which will never be made by the present British government – Mr. Birrell will enjoy his success in evading a troublesome question by the oldest of Castle devices.’

Griffith also condemned the failed housing policies of Dublin Corporation and, in particular, its failure to build public housing: ‘According to the town clerk, it is no more the business of the Corporation to provide houses, than to provide tall hats and umbrellas.’

Dr Jacinta Prunty, NUI Maynooth, discusses the origins of Dublin's housing crisis

Griffith also asked why land in Blanchardstown had been sold off by the Corporation instead of being used for develop affordable housing, and why the same thing is currently happening in Drumcondra.

The Housing Inquiry opened in City Hall this week under three inspectors of the Local Government Board, C.H. O’Conor, J.F. McCabe and A.P. Delaney.

The inquiry was established in the wake of mounting public criticism of the condition of housing in Dublin following the collapse of two tenements in Church Street in September when seven people were killed.

In evidence given through the week, there was general agreement on the imperative of doing something to resolve the appalling conditions of tenement dwellers, but no agreement or obvious plan on what should be done.

The Dublin Corporation spoke of the possibility of building 10,000 cottages for labourers in outlying districts such as Cabra, Drumcondra, Clontarf and Kilmainham, but no formal plan has been presented.

The inquiry will continue its sittings this week.

 

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