As the housing crisis left them homeless, two French students had to live in a tent for weeks. Pierre-Rubén Jeandidier and Florence Rappin arrived in Galway at the beginning of September to study Marine Biology at the Atlantic Technological University. Meanwhile, the Galway branch of the political party called Éirígí, decided to fight the housing crisis with posters in Woodquay.
Pierre-Rubén Jeandidier and Florence Rappin came for a semester through an exchange program with no idea about the difficulty to find accommodation. Pierre-Rubén stayed two weeks in a tent and Florence joined him for five days. The two students stayed at Salthill caravan campsite: “It was €15 per person where you need to pay €1 for a four minutes shower with the first minute being cold water” said Pierre-Rubén.
After many scams, emails and phone calls with no replies, as a last resource, the decided to go door to door in Galway City looking for somewhere to stay. In their inability to give them a place to stay, some locals offered food or asked their neighbours to help the two students. Finally, after intensive searching, they found a place to live with flatmates where they pay €600 for a bedroom each outside of Galway City.
The housing crisis is a well-known problem in Galway. The Éirígí representative for Galway city, Ian Ó Dálaigh, stated on the matter: “Every time I check the prices, it seems higher and higher!”. Eirigi’s Posters “Use this home for Universal public housing” can be seen in Woodquay in Galway city on vacant buildings which could be made useable as housing. By putting these posters in Woodquay they hope to convince people of the importance of public housing.
This political party believes in Universal Public Housing where everybody would have a place to live with affordable rent. In this system, nobody is paying more than they can afford. Repurposing vacant buildings for public housing is one such way to start tackling the problem according to Ian Ó Dálaigh. He calls for long-term solutions from the Government to resolve the housing crisis.