Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle introduces new legislation to make housing and health a right

Sept. 20th, 2018

Thomas Pringle


After his successful Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill was passed by the Dáil in July, Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle has this week introduced a new piece of legislation which would make housing, health, education (among others) fundamental human rights with full protection under the Irish constitution.

“My new Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Bill (ESC Rights) will bring about a referendum asking the people to enshrine basic human rights like the right to housing, health and education, the right to strike and access social welfare, among numerous others in the Irish Constitution.

“It will not mean handing over keys to a house overnight but it will hold the Government to account by forcing it to justify where it’s spending public money. If the Government fails to adequately maintain the rights of its citizens these rights can be defended in the court of law.

“The establishment parties have had free reign to distribute resources where it wants and have consistently moved them away from providing basic needs for its citizens. Instead they have facilitated the private sector’s dominance in housing and healthcare while consistently outsourcing services to private companies.

“If Ireland had these socio-economic rights enshrined, the recession would have been contained and would not have impacted so harshly on the most vulnerable people. It would have meant more negotiating rights with the IMF if we had rights to defend in our constitution which Portugal was able to do. We also would not have the housing crisis we have today because the State would have consistently invested in housing through the years and would’ve been compelled to intervene in the market which it consistently refuses to do.

“It’s time we had a human rights-based approach to Government. Fine Gael is failing to bring about a more equal economy and it has become evident over the course of this Government that public services continue to erode further as they are viewed more so as commodities than human rights. Considering the fact that socio-economic rights are recognised in 81 constitutions around the world it’s time we acted on this now. I look forward to continuing the debate on my Bill in the Dáil and hope it will progress with cross-party support” concludes Pringle.


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