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Yes, Irish people are vetted for housing – but undocumented migrants are not

One of the main tropes to emerge from the pile on against the people of East Wall is that the busloads of new arrivals “should be not vetted, because nobody in my apartment block is vetted,” and so on, ad nauseum. This is only interesting in that it breaks the tedium of maligning everyone as racist and claiming to have spotted Martin Bormann – especially flown over from his bolthole in Paraguay – covertly handing out copies of Mein Kampf to ladies who took the night off bingo to organise a cross burning on the East Road.

The plain and obvious truth is that everyone is vetted when it comes to anything to do with housing. You won’t get in the door of an apartment in Dublin or anywhere else if the landlord is not satisfied as to a number of things. Who you actually are – and proving that with documentation – is one of the key requirements. Claiming to have lost your driver’s licence or other documentation confirming who you are and that crossing your hearts that you didn’t burn your last gaff to the ground, on the bus is not going to get you a key.

Being able to pay the rent is likewise not an issue in the case of undocumented refugees – one of whom in East Wall told people he was living and working in London prior to fleeing a bad run of Tottenham Hotspur results – but it is definitely a requirement for the rest of us – and we need to produce proof of ability to meet the standing order. Bank details, employment status perhaps, maybe a reference from your employer or previous landlord, are usually needed. All of this comes under the rubric of “vetting.”

You can also be pretty certain that a potential landlord is most likely going to Google your name and maybe even check out social media sites to see what sort of a person you are. More dastardly judgemental vetting, especially if the landlord decides that your penchant for free range Boa Constrictors or devotion to the Church of Satan might not fit the profile he or she was hoping for in a prospective tenant, or even housemate given the pressures on accommodation these times.

Ah but! you cry, these are Kulak-type private landlords who represent all of the worst characteristics of the capitalist ruling class. The state – which is kindly offering all of these young fellas from London and eastern Europe and safe African countries free accommodation on our behalf and on our tab, will be at no such caper. There is no vetting of local authority tenants I have heard it said, including by people who know that this is not true.

Well, there is vetting in Dublin for local authority housing. Not only that but the revoking of the effective ban on evictions following a 2012 Supreme Court judgement against Dublin City Council was strenuously pushed by councillors, including some who as individuals or as party members are now ridiculing the demand of East Wall residents for the vetting of the men foisted upon their community.

Despite all the hot air about vetting and the lie that it is not a requirement for any tenant in Dublin, new guidelines governing housing allocation in the City Council area specifically includes provision for the vetting of prospective tenants. Section 5.1 of the report on Estate Management Strategy agreed by Councillors and signed off by Assistant CEO Coilín O’Reilly in March this year states that:



90 Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy 2022-2027.pdf (dublincity.ie)

This was approved by Councillors at the City Council meeting of April 4, 2022. The question must be posed then as to why such reasonable and indeed necessary vetting procedures are supported by parties on Dublin City Council with regard to anti-social behaviour, and yet members of the same parties have vociferously rejected a request by residents in East Wall and other communities that a similar process be undertaken with regards to young men who arrive here often with no documentation and no proof of who they are, where they came from or without any proper assessment having been made of their right even to claim asylum in Ireland.

None of the councillors who wished to see stronger measures in place to tackle anti-social behaviour objected to vetting. Indeed, it was inserted into the draft report at the insistence of councillors some of whom specifically wished to have local people consulted on housing allocations. This, of course, hasn’t prevented some of them joining in the establishment slander against the community in East Wall for requesting just such consultation.

Likewise, Green Party councillor Janet Horner who was co-opted into a seat in the north inner city clearly believed then that local people ought to have a “veto” on what happens on their own doorstep. Yet that is something which she, and Green Party Minister Roderic O’Gorman, would now deny to the people of East Wall.

Gript did reach out to all of the elected TDs and City Councillors in the Dublin Central constituency and north inner city electoral ward asking them if they supported the calls for vetting of the men coming into East Wall, and if they supported the vetting of tenants by Dublin City Council.

We received no responses. However, it ought to be pointed out that two of the local councillors, Independents Christy Burke and Nial Ring have attended the protests.

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