Human Rights: Rialto Rights In Action

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Publications: Rialto Rights In Action

Dolphin House, one of Dublin’s largest public housing flat complexes, has been home to generations of people who have built a strong and proud community, where people have always tried to pull together to support their neighbours and defend their community.

Neglect and disadvantage

Over time however, the estate had been badly neglected, with low standards of maintenance and care from the local authority. Conditions on the estate had fallen well below internationally recognised human rights standards. There are inadequate play facilities for children, poor energy efficiency in the flats, and very serious problems with dampness, mould and waste water. Residents live with social and economic inequality, including high incidence of persistent poverty, unemployment, school drop-out, low levels of literacy, and drug and alcohol addiction. Dolphin House also had a high proportion of residents who are vulnerable or isolated, including elderly single men and women and families coping with chronic health (including mental health) issues.

CAN’s work with Dolphin House residents

CAN’s work with Dolphin House residents began in 2005 when we facilitated a public consultation to determine what future residents wanted for the estate. With the collapse of the proposed regeneration in 2008, however, residents felt they were back where they had started, and a new approach was required. 

We then began to evaluate the predicament of residents within a human rights context. CAN worked with residents to compile the evidence for the neglect and poor conditions of the estate, and to establish who was ultimately responsible for vindicating the human rights of the residents. We worked with residents to help them imagine a better future, and to enlist the support of a wider coalition of civic society and expert witnesses. 

The value of all the sustained and collective pressure was realised with the announcement that the Government was allocating €25 million for the redevelopment of Dolphin House.

For more details of this story of a campaign for housing human rights,
see: A Place Called Home or watch this video:

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Publications: Human Rights