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Public Consultation on a Referendum on Housing in Ireland – A Submission by Dublin City Community Co-operative

By Reports

International and national obligations to the right to housing

Ireland has obligations under international agreements to provide for the right to housing. Article 25 of the United Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) provides that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family, including food clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”. Similarly, Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) provides that States Parties recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”. States which have signed this Covenant are obligated to ‘take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right’.

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Submission to The Low Pay Commission on the National Minimum Wage

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The Co-op would like to endorse the position of the Living Wage Technical Group of which Social Justice Ireland, Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), TASC and SIPTU are members. In this submission we will briefly articulate the reasons for this endorsement and reaffirm the benefits of implementing the Living Wage, as they have been outlined by the aforementioned organisations. Our promotion of this position stems from our work in disadvantaged areas of the inner city. As is highlighted in our recently published No Child Shall Suffer report, there are working people of the inner city unable to provide an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families. The realisation of the Living Wage would alleviate significant stress and suffering for those we call the ‘working poor’.

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Consultation Children & Youth Strategy – A Statement to Government

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National and International commitments to children and young people

Ireland has made numerous commitments to the wellbeing of the nation’s children. In January of 1919 the first Dáil of Ireland declared that no child in Ireland would go hungry, be denied shelter, or lack the means to gain an education. In 1992 Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The rights endowed upon all children following its ratification include the right to shelter, nutrition, education, and protection from neglect and abuse.

In 2014 the Irish government introduced the first overarching national policy framework for children and young people. Better Outcomes Brighter Futures (BOBF), contained within it numerous positive and progressive commitments to the children and young people of this country. The six transformational goals and five national outcomes remain highly relevant for the succeeding policy framework. However, there is an implementation gap that must be prioritized going forward.

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On-Street Drug Dealing, Drug Related Intimidation (DRI) & Anti-Social Behaviour

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In Numbers-Communities Impacted in the North East Inner City

On-street drug dealing, drug related intimidation (DRI) and anti-social behaviour are deeply rooted challenges faced by many communities of the inner city of Dublin, both on the north side and south side of the river Liffey. To highlight population numbers in areas that are subject to daily on-street drug dealing, DRI and anti-social behaviour the analysis that follows focuses on the North East Inner City (NEIC). In due course it is planned to conduct a similar analysis on other areas of the inner city.

The analysis in this short paper examines the population figures for 27 NEIC Local Small Areas where ongoing-street drug dealing, DRI and anti-social behaviour are ongoing occurrences and for many of these areas the situation has prevailed for decades. The 27 Local Small Areas chosen for inclusion in this paper are by no means exhaustive but they reflect the areas of the NEIC where the problem is most prevalent.

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Childcare, Capacity and Ukrainian Refugees – A Statement to Government

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The government is bound to the protection of children and the promotion of their wellbeing by numerous national and international policy documents and agreements, including Better Outcomes Brighter Futures, First 5, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the latest EU Child Guarantee. The lack of capacity (space, staffing numbers, finances, resources) within ECL facilities and services for SAC is a systemic flaw which undermines the ability of government to fulfil these obligations. The lack of capacity counteracts the goal of accessibility stated in Better Outcomes Brighter Futures. It impedes the realization of the first objective identified in First 5: to foster strong and supportive families and communities as a means to enable parents to balance work and caring roles. Lastly, the EU Child Guarantee introduced in 2021 recommends that member states guarantee that children have effective and free access to early childhood education and care. Clearly the dearth of spaces in such services is a practical issue which must be addressed if the government can reasonably expect to effectuate this recommendation.

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A two-tier refugee system? A Statement to Government

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A two-tier refugee system has emerged in Ireland. It is crucial to ask what the justifications and uses of a two-tiered system are (if any) before it becomes entrenched. The capacity of our society and government to respond with compassion, speed and vigour to the needs of Ukrainian refugees has been demonstrated since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. This provides us with an opportunity to apply those lessons to the reform of our international protection system and ensure an inequitable two-tier system does not become the norm or even worse, accepted.

In the policy brief Responding with Care – Ireland’s Response to the Ukraine Crisis published by the Roundtable on Migrations in Our Common Home (2022), the authors ask why such a Temporary Protection Directive has not been established previously, notably during the refugee crisis that Europe faced in 2015. It is not the purpose of this statement to advocate for the expansion of the Temporary Protection Directive. However, it is salient for us as a society to reflect on the disparities in urgency, protection and rights afforded to asylum seekers of different nationalities fleeing near-identical situations. If we are to continue with a two-tiered system, we must strive to reduce the inequities between the tiers to honour the central principle of non-discrimination laid out in the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and Protocol (1967).

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The Co-op’s No Child Shall Suffer report

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One of the most pressing issues addressed by Co-op members is the shocking and persistent levels of child and family poverty and social exclusion. The extent of this issue has become even more evident during the Covid-19 epidemic. This crisis has underscored the deep-seated inequalities that persist in our society and has highlighted the importance of putting children at the heart of building a fairer and more inclusive and sustainable society as we emerge from the pandemic. However, if as a society we are finally to face up to the challenge of ensuring that we cherish all our children equally, then we must start by listening to the experience of children and their families experiencing poverty and social exclusion and those working with them on the ground. The fourteen stories in this publication do just that. They are pen pictures of the lived experience of some of the most vulnerable children and families in the communities in which Co-op members work. We hope that in publishing these powerful stories we will increase public and political awareness of the need to intensify all our efforts to support children in vulnerable situations and to end child poverty and social exclusion.

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By Programmes


Dublin City Community Co-operative (the Co-op) has secured funding from the HSE and the North East Inner City (NEIC) Initiative for the Healthy Communities Project.  This project aims to tackle health inequalities in the north east inner city of Dublin by building the capacity of the community to address health issues affecting them.

Social Prescribing is a key element of this project and recognises the importance of non-medical supports to address the health and mental health needs of those who face illnesses such as depression, anxiety or social isolation. Social Prescribing is a means of supporting Health Care Professionals (GP’s, Primary Care Professionals) to refer people to a range of local and non-clinical/non-medical community, voluntary, recreational and sporting services to support positive health and wellbeing.

As part of the project the Co-op is implementing an evaluation and monitoring process with the objective of understanding the impact of Social Prescribing, as well as collecting more comprehensive data on the NEIC area.  As part of the evaluation process, it is important to gather baseline data at the start of the project in order to determine prior knowledge of Social Prescribing as well as interest in engaging with the Healthy Communities Project. The Co-op will be supported in this process by TASC, a specialist research organisation and independent think-tank whose mission is to address inequality and poverty by translating research into action.

In addition to social prescribing the Healthy Communities Project will be running a number of trainings for residents of the NEIC in areas such as We Can Quit Smoking, Healthy Food Made Easy, Stress Control and Wellbeing. The project will also be working very closely with the National Screening Service and the National Immunisation Programme.

For more details contact:

Catherine Heaney

Project Coordinator

[email protected]

Finding New Ways to Remain Engaged & Active during Lockdown

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With the onset of Covid-19 the Co-op identified a serious mental health issue among older people who were cocooning as per Government restrictions introduced to contain Coivd-19. The resulting isolation and loneliness have been exacerbated by a general lack of IT skills and/or hardware, and / or a knowledge of how to use smart technology. 

As a response to this problem the Co-op put together two sets of activity packs with the aim of supporting older people to take care of their physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing while staying safe at home. Since March 2020 the Co-op has delivered:

  1. 635 Older People’s Cocooning Kits were delivered in May 2020 (containing a pack of 12 Colouring Pencils and a Sketch Pad, an Adult Activity Book – 170 Crosswords/Sudoku/Puzzles etc, a Deck of Cards, a copy of Ireland’s Own Magazine, a DCC Stay Active Booklet and a HSE Community Physio Booklet and other assorted goodies.  Each activity pack included an in-house developed ‘Cocoon Kit, keep yourself healthy and fit’, which is an 84 page activity book containing resources, quizzes, HSE information, Helpline Phone numbers, recipes, and suggestions to keep ourselves healthy in body, mind and spirit).
  2. 880 Samhain Activity Packs were delivered in October 2020 (containing a copy of Ireland’s Own, four different social history maps; Let’s Get Moving Again, an exercise booklet  from the HSE; various information leaflets and booklets of interest to older people, a crochet needle and wool for women, a Rubik’s cube for men, a succulent plant, a notebook and pen, a packet of soup and lots of other goodies). Each activity pack included an in-house developed Samhain Activity Pack booklet, a 47 page activity book containing information on how to care for physical health, i.e. promoting blood circulation and the importance of hydration; for mental health i.e. journaling exercises, poems, a piece on minding yourself in the midst of Covid-19, and stories on how older people across the city are coping with Covid-19; and for spiritual health i.e. meditations, information on how to crochet and crochet patterns. 

Both in-house activity booklets were designed to complement the contents of the activity pack itself. For example the colouring pencils were included in the first activity packs with the intention that they could be used for the adult mindfulness colouring pages contained in the Cocoon Kit. 

It has been such a joy for all the Co-op members and staff who worked on these projects. And older people who received the Activity packs have been delighted to be thought of and to receive a surprise pack of varied resources. to work on this project.

Here are some of the comments from recipients:

  • ‘I know you all must be really busy and it’s so nice that we still find time to think of him with these packs”   
  • ‘Thanks so for much for thinking of us, you really thought of everything, what a great surprise.’ 
  • ‘ I really love Ireland’s Own, I’ve never bought one. The only time I’ve ever read it is in waiting rooms, doctor’s surgery etc.. It was such a treat to be able to sit down with it at home with a nice cup of tea and a bar of chocolate, I’m going to post it to my brother when I’m finished.’ 


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