Rialto Rights InAction
Residents of Dolphin are working with community organisations (CAN) and the Dolphin Alliance community and regeneration workers to get the housing conditions in Dolphin improved by using a human rights based approach. The group meets each week and is involved in doing surveys of residents conditions, holding hearings to highlight the issues, working in the media, meeting Dublin City Council and making submissions to the United Nations and other organistions.
Human Rights Process
At a Human Rights Housing Hearing held on 25th May, the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC), leading academics in the field of human rights and housing, public representatives and the media, heard overwhelming evidence from residents of Dolphin House of deplorable living conditions in some of the Dolphin House flats.
These included sewerage invasion through toilets, baths, sinks and washing machines, corrosive damp in bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms and mould containing pathogenic spores. All of these conditions have persisted for decades and pose a risk to residents' health as well as making for a poor quality of life. The response, to date, from Dublin City Council has been, according to the evidence gathered by RRIAG completely inadequate.
The IHRC president Dr. Maurice Manning, supported by the academics on the panel, said that these conditions clearly contravene the rights of residents under the United Nations Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, to which Ireland is a signatory.
They further concluded that it is the responsibility of the Duty Bearer, that is the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Housing and Minister for Health, to vindicate the progressive realisation of these rights. The residents launched indicators at the hearing, in line with the principle of progressive realisation. This means that there will be a reduction, down to zero, within the next year of the amount of residents reporting dampness reporting mould, sewerage ingress/smells, concerned about health because of sewerage or damp, dissatisified with response to issues of sewerage and damp, residents given no information/explanation as to why problems occur, reporting no information given on how issues of dampness and sewerage are to be addressed, residents reporting that they are not included in decisions affecting them regarding dampness and sewerage.
These are timed measures of progress towards the Human Rights Standard, which the residents will monitor over the coming twelve months. These indicators were endorsed by the panel including the IHRC as more than reasonable given the long history of sub-standard conditions in the complex. For a detailed account of the hearing download the document here
The Rialto Rights in Action Project is a collaboration of the Dolphin House Community Development Association, The Dolphin and Fatima Health Projects, Community Response, Rialto Residents Community Action Network and Participation and Practice of Rights Project, Belfast and funded by Rowntree Trust
- Download the REPORT ON THE FIRST MONITORING OF HOUSING CONDITIONS IN DOLPHIN HOUSE here
- Dolphin makes submission to the UN Periodic Review of Ireland's human rights. Download the submission here