|Date:||15th June 1969|
|Organisation:||Dublin Housing Action Committee|
|Discuss:||Comments on this document|
|Subjects:||Housing and Homelessness|
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Here is a document of some interest to the left. For the DHAC was one of the activities which symbolised the - as it were - left turn of Sinn Féin in the 1960s. It was explicitly positioned towards agitating against the housing shortages in Dublin in the mid to late 1960s. This sort of populist mobilisation around ‘bread and butter’ issues was crucial to the later self-identification of Official Sinn Féin, and representative of the abandonment of the central issue of combating partition to those who disagreed with the ‘political’ path such as Provisional Sinn Féin (although not entirely, since there were more diverse strands to that latter position than some often give credit). That the DHAC was home to a broader range of members from a wider constituency on the left doesn’t as such undermine either thesis, but perhaps point to it acting as a vehicle for competing, and complementary, approaches. Any organisation that could bring together the late Seán Ó Cionnaith (who I well remember from the 1980s) and Dennis Dennehy had to be, per definition a bit more complex than some histories seek to present.
This short document from June 1969 gives a flavour of the DHAC. Although far from overtly party political, there is no mention of Sinn Féin, it is on all other levels an intensely political document, not least in the attacks on the Labour Party in particular.
We will report on the latest developments in Landlord racketeering, evictions, squatting etc., as well as publicising the numerous successful agitations we are waging on behalf of the homeless and rack-rented workers of Dublin.
The most politically advanced members of the DHAC have taken the ultimate step in the present housing agitation; they have squatted in some of the idle, surplus property owned by speculating Landlord parasites…. Actions speak louder than words and one homeless family squatting in some Rachman’s idle property is worth a bellyfull of promises from the so-called Socialists of Fianna Fail or Labour…
Note the piece on the back page which refers to a questionnaire ‘which we intend to send to at least the Labour Party candidates in the Dublin area….’
One wonders was it sent? Consider this interesting overview of the history of the DHAC from DR O’Connor Lysaght in 1976 from Arguments for A Workers’ Republic, a great resource in itself, [scroll down]. I can’t say whether it’s entirely accurate, perhaps others can fill in the details.