Radical Routes begin an all-island speaking tour at the end of this month to people to set up their own co-ops. They are presenting this as a way out of both the precarious rental market and the trap of long-term mortgage debt.
The tour will draw on their experience where the Radical Routes network has over 35 member co-ops. They say that "While the legal and financial structures relevant to setting up a co-op are different in the UK and Ireland, the experience learned from establishing these projects in the UK is valuable to anyone in Ireland considering setting up a co-operative and taking control of their own housing situation."
Radical Routes is based on mutual aid and solidarity: co-ops support each other and provide legal, financial and planning advice to new co-ops free of charge. Radical Routes Ireland is inspired by this approach to solving the housing crisis and people taking direct control of their own lives. We aim to promote and support the development of a grassroots co-op movement in Ireland.
Radical Routes is a network of housing co-ops and workers co-ops all across the UK - http://www.radicalroutes.org.uk/
Radical Routes Ireland facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/RadicalRoutesIreland/
Housing Co-ops: How to set one up - Dublin - Sun Oct 26th
Housing Co-ops: How to set one up - Galway - Sat Nov 1st
Housing Co-ops: How to set one up - Derry - Sun Nov 2nd
'HOMES WITHOUT LANDLORDS': CO-OPS AS A SOLUTION TO THE HOUSING CRISIS
Speaking tour encourages people to set up their own co-ops Cork Oct 25th, Dublin Oct 26th, Galway Nov 1st, Derry Nov 2nd.
Co-operative housing could offer a way out of the precarious rental market and the trap of long-term mortgage debt, according to Donal O'Driscoll, a member of UK-based co-op network Radical Routes, who begin an all-island speaking tour later this month. "The model of co-operative housing is well-established in the UK where legal recognition and corporation tax exemptions make the process of setting up a co-op relatively straightforward," says Donal.
The Radical Routes network has over 35 member co-ops throughout the UK which are residential projects of all shapes and sizes as well as a number of workers co-operatives.
This speaking tour is organised by a Dublin-based housing activists who have been liaising with colleagues in the UK for the past year to establish a similar network here and promote the idea of a grassroots-led approach to solving the housing crisis. "I had been renting in Dublin for nine years and in that time lived in 11 different places. My housemates and I added up all the rent we had paid over that time and realised that between us we could have bought our own home. So we did," said Barry Semple, one of the group.
Barry is part of a small group of friends who bought a derelict property in Dublin last year and have been renovating it with the intention of setting up a housing co-operative. They have been working closely with Radical Routes, who provide financial, legal and planning advice free-of-charge to their member co-ops. The idea is based on mutual aid and solidarity, and a determination that access to housing is a right and not a privilege.
"We have a situation in Ireland at the moment where there is an acute housing crisis," says Rachel Murphy, also a member of the tour-organising group, "but the general discourse implies that all the power to affect change lies with private business, the government and the councils. I disagree. People can empower themselves by working together in their communities to make housing a collectively-owned resource rather than an asset to be speculated on by developers."
Paying for a home - whether through mortgage or rent - is the single greatest outgoing from most people's pockets. The average monthly rent for a house in Dublin is €1,275 and €1,134 for an apartment. These figures represent a 12.1 per cent increase for apartments and an 8.5 per cent increase for houses compared with the same period last year. "While the terminology and ethos of the property market portrays these increases as positive, it clearly makes housing less accessible to ordinary people and forces them to compete with each other for the most basic of needs. It makes sense for people to pool their resources and act in common to provide themselves with housing, as a resource and not a commodity." says Rachel.
The co-operative movement in Ireland is well-established but historically has dealt mainly with the agricultural business sector. Much of what is termed co-operative housing in Ireland is mediated through a trust or board, often comprising the local council or religious orders who own the properties. While alot of good work is done by such housing associations, Radical Routes envisions a much different model in which the tenants of a home are effectively their own landlords. Donal says "While the legal and financial structures relevant to setting up a co-op are different in the UK and Ireland, the experience learned from establishing these projects in the UK is valuable to anyone in Ireland considering setting up a co-operative and taking control of their own housing situation."
Radical Routes begin an all-island speaking tour on Saturday October 25th in Cork, and continue to Dublin (October 26th), Galway (November 1st) and Derry (November 2nd). The Events are free and open to the public to attend. Please contact 086-3614554 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or find us online at radicalroutes.org.uk or on our facebook event page.