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Young Irish Workers Forgoing Food To Pay Rent


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A new study has warned that over half of young workers in Ireland are going hungry to pay the rent.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions survey questioned 1,500 members under the age of 34.

It found that one-in-two workers are going without essentials like food, heating and transport as they struggle to cover housing costs.

The vast majority (74%) said they had little or no confidence in being able to buy a home in the future.

Some 10% of people said they are spending more than half their wages on housing – while 40% said their costs are higher than the internationally recognised rent to income ratio for housing affordability.

Nearly 20% said they are unable to keep their head above water and have fallen into debt due to high housing costs.

"Frustration, insecurity and despondency"

ICTU spokesperson Dr Laura Bambrick said the vast majority of people surveyed had no children and were working full time with permanent contracts.

“These are people that should have the most income at their disposal,” she said.

ICTU general secretary Patricia King said the findings are “worse than feared.”

“Lives are being damaged and destroyed and a whole generation of young workers are now feeling alarming levels of frustration, insecurity and despondency with their housing
situation,” she said.

“We are failing badly our young people.”

Housing rights

The trade union body will use the survey to highlight the “significant and unacceptable impact of our broken housing system” and urge TDs to adopt its ‘Charter for Housing Rights.’

Tellingly some 84% of those surveyed said housing will influence how they vote in the next election.

The charter sets out key principles for creating a secure and sustainable housing system.


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