The state of human rights in South Dublin 2022: Who has power in South Dublin?

Part two in a three-part series following a community mobilisation to monitor international human rights at a local level Aidan Lloyd  |  Tue Oct 11 2022
The state of human rights in South Dublin 2022: Who has power in South Dublin?

The idea behind our project was to collect the experiences of households on the conditions they experience in relation to housing, safety, health and public services, to align the outcomes with human rights that the state and its agencies are duty bound to deliver on.

Human rights are non-negotiable, but human rights are worth nothing unless we have power – unless we can bring effective pressure to bear on those responsible for delivering and defending our rights.

In the spring of 2022 community activists from NCCDP, Rights Platform, St Kevin’s FRC and others undertook training to develop our understanding of human rights approaches with the assistance of the Participation and Practice of Rights organisation (PPR).

We developed a plan for action research in our communities.

Research teams, working in pairs, conducted surveys over a 6 week period, taking time to speak with families, gather their stories and collect photographic evidence. Some of the housing conditions were highlighted on social media. Complaints were forwarded to councillors and officials at South Dublin County Council, who requested further details.

Picture of a toilet, washing basin and an chair aid with damp and mould on the bathroom walls

The speedy responses to our social media posts died a death within a few days, just as the housing repair system did once the complaint was acknowledged. This was a test, with predictable results. We know that communities have to sustain the pressure to hold people in power accountable.

We are not only interested in documenting the issues families face every day in south Dublin, but in how we can draw on the support of our friends, families, neighbours and allies to put power behind our demands for the protection of our rights.

On the 7th and 8th November we are inviting the local residents who took part in the action research and who gave generously of their time and personal testimonies to meet and discuss the results.

We know from past experience that feeding the outcomes back to the responsible agencies and authorities will not bring change without a strong follow-through where the community can take action to monitor their government and bring pressure to bear. As part of our action research we have identified the local and national power holders and their specific responsibilities.

Over half of residents surveyed reported damp and/or mould in their homes

The publication of the results alone should lead to action but that will not happen without the involvement of people impacted by the problems developing our demands and setting our own agenda. On the 7th and 8th November we are inviting the local residents who took part in the action research and who gave generously of their time and personal testimonies to meet and discuss the results.

If you would like to join the community meetings and be part of a discussion on how we can respond to defend our rights in south Dublin email – aidlloyd@gmail.com