COPE Galway calls for referendum on constitutional right to housing

Galway Daily news Latest figures show increase in homelessness in Galway

COPE Galway is calling for the right to housing to be enshrined in the constitution in its submission to the government for budget 2021.

COPE is seeking a referendum on enshrining the right to housing in the Irish Constitution among the measures to combat homelessness in its pre-budget submission.

Other measures include increasing social housing supply through new build, with a mix of dwelling types and sizes that correspond to the profile of households on social housing waiting lists (including single and older people), and increase the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits to reflect actual asking market rent levels.

In measures regarding domestic abuse, COPE Galway is highlighting the government’s commitment under the Istanbul Convention to put in place an additional 331 refuge spaces for victims of domestic abuse in order to have one family place per 10,000 of population available nationally.

“These past seven months and more have been very challenging for many across our community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet we’ve also seen what can be achieved in terms of supporting the most vulnerable,” says Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.

“We are only too aware of the demands Government faces in framing Budget 2021, but we also see the opportunity to build on the positives of the past number of months by continuing with what has been so encouraging in addressing the shortcomings that still exist.”

The submission also highlights Ireland’s increasing older population and how this is presenting new challenges in the areas of healthcare, pensions and housing.

COPE is calling for the introduction of a single-rate universal state social welfare pension; increases in the state pension and living alone allowance by €5 and €6 per week respectively; increased funding of Housing Adaptation grants; additional resources and funding to address the urgent waiting lists for home help hours and an increase in the number of hours provided.

Regarding health measures, COPE Galway seeks the allocation of €500m towards initial infrastructure to ensure the speedy implementation of Sláintecare; prioritising the rollout of the Integrated Care Framework; investment in mental health in primary care and the provision of additional technological resources to support the use of online mental health services.

You can read the full submission at