Irish Housing Law Expert Stresses that Housing Rights must be Central to Europe’s Financial Response to Covid-19

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at the School of Law, NUI Galway
Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at the School of Law, NUI Galway

“The EU institutional response after 2009 did not respect, observe or promote human or housing rights. This time it must be different” says Dr Padraic Kenna, NUI Galway

Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at the School of Law, NUI Galway, has said that the EU should avoid the mistakes of the 2009 crisis by ensuring that human rights, and particularly housing rights are embedded within its response to Covid-19.

In a set of three new Briefing Papers available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/chlrp/news/this-time-it-will-be-different.html  Dr Kenna outlines how EU institutions interacting with Member States’ in response to this crisis, must now apply the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, especially in economic governance and financial supervision.  He said that nowhere was this more important than in the way in which housing is treated.

The three Briefing Papers will form the basis for a significant submission to the European Commission on a New Strategy for the Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, now part of Treaty law for 10 years.

Dr Kenna said: “Housing is a fundamental right and need on which so many other rights depend, like health, safety, privacy and home life, as Covid-19 has so clearly shown. Access to adequate and affordable housing for all is becoming a key test of the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Union.”

“Housing is a major political issue in many Member States, including as we know, here in Ireland,” he continued. “Over 80 million Europeans are overburdened by housing costs.  One quarter of Europeans live in overcrowded housing, and an estimated 700,000 people were homeless in 2019. Housing is, once again ,the wobbly pillar of EU banking stability, and this will be exacerbated following Covid-19.”

Dr Kenna also commented that a ‘business as usual’ attitude by EU institutions when it comes to responding to the Covid-19 tragedy was no longer good enough for EU citizens.

“Maintaining the legitimacy of all our EU institutions is now a vital part of the recovery we need. To do this, we all need to see a real human and housing based-reboot.”

-Ends-

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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