This weekend, 22 and 23 February, the Constitutional Convention is meeting to consider whether to recommend to the Government that economic, social and cultural rights should be incorporated into the Constitution. The right to housing is currently not protected in our Constitution nor in legislation. This right to housing is one that is within the category, as recognised in international human rights law, of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Convention on the Constitution is a forum of 100 people, representative of Irish society and parliamentarians from the island of Ireland, with an independent Chairman. The Convention was established by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas to consider and make recommendations on certain topics as possible future amendments to the Constitution. The Government has undertaken to respond to the Convention’s recommendations within four months by way of debates in the Oireachtas and where it agrees with a particular recommendation to amend the Constitution, to include a timeframe for a referendum.
This weekend, academic experts on economic, social and cultural rights, Dr. Liam Thornton, Aoife Nolan and David Fennelly will be presenting to the Convention on what economic, social and cultural rights are, how they are protected in the Constitution, and models from other jurisdictions of how these rights are incorporated into national constitutions. Amnesty International Ireland, the Irish Human Rights Commission will be advocating for the inclusion of these rights in our Constitution. Focus Ireland, which had made a submission to the Convention on the right to housing, will be involved in a panel discussion on inclusion of these rights.
The inclusion of these rights in our Constitution would greatly strengthen the right of Irish citizens to housing and a home. MLRC is a member of the Economic Social and Cultural Rights Initiative, which includes Amnesty International Ireland and Focus Ireland. MLRC calls for inclusion of these rights in our Constitution and looks forward to a positive outcome from this weekend’s meeting. For more details and a live streaming of the Convention meeting, see www.constitution.ie.
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