Ireland has no constitutional or legally established right to housing. However, Ireland has an established housing policy to guide government housing provision and programmes.
In terms of the Council of Europe, Ireland ratified the Revised European Social Charter on 04/11/2000, accepting 92 of the 98 paragraphs of the Revised Charter, excluding the Article 31 on the right to housing. Ireland ratified the Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints procedure on 04/11/2000. It has not yet made a declaration enabling national NGOs to submit collective complaints.
The Housing Act 1966 sets out the basis of housing legislation, which has been updated and amended by more recent legislation. The most significant development in 2009 was the enactment of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act which extends and amends the Housing Acts 1966 – 2004. This became law in July 2009. The Act requires Housing Authorities, inter alia, to provide housing supports, assistance, maintenance and necessary remedial work; adopt a housing services plan for its area of operation which take account of the broader development plan for the area, the housing needs arising from the Housing Needs Assessment and the demand for affordable housing; prepare a Housing Action Programme to implement its Housing Services Plans which must be reviewed at regular intervals; avoid undue segregation in social housing provision; develop a housing ‘allocation scheme’ detailing the criteria for the allocation of social housing; pay the full rent for agreed periods of time to the housing provider under the Rental Accommodation Schemes (tenancy agreements, anti-social behaviour and termination of tenancies are also included); adopt an anti-social behaviour strategy to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour in its housing stock; adopt a Homelessness Action Plan which includes a time frame for implementation and review; provide financial assistance to people eligible for affordable housing to purchase a house on the open market, under the Affordable Home scheme.
There are also legal proceedings in place and a number of steps that can be taken by the tenant before he/she can be evicted from their property. In March 2012, a comprehensive booklet was launched explaining Social Housing Rights. There are a number of agencies that can assist tenants, both in social housing and private rental accommodation, and advise them on their tenancy rights and procedures to take if an eviction notice is received.
The European Convention on Human Rights was incorporated into Irish law in 2003. Since then a number of significant cases have come before the courts relying in the ECHR (i.e. O’Donnell (a minor) and Others v South Dublin County Council (2007), O’Donnell and Others v South Dublin County Council (2008), Pullen and Others v Dublin City Council (2008), Donegan v Dublin City Council and Others (2008), Dublin City Council v Gallager (2008)).