Monday 25 September 2017

Cowen and developers are not actually the devil

We need to be less ideologically rigid in finding solutions to the housing crisis, says Brendan O'Connor, and accept that people have baggage

Questions and answers: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
Questions and answers: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

When you accuse someone of being ideologically incapable of solving a problem, you can often simply mean that the other person has a different ideology to you. So when Peter McVerry says the Government is ideologically incapable of tackling homelessness, what he actually probably means is that he disagrees with the Government's world view.

But you have to give McVerry credit for mentioning ideology. Because the whole debate on what to do about homelessness is riddled with ideology, but nobody really mentions it. By and large, the debate, as it is conducted right now, is very black and white. There are good guys, and bad guys. The good guys are the ones who work with the victims of homelessness. And they are largely, understandably coming from a left-wing perspective. Anything they say is pretty much taken at face value right now. Which is understandable, really. They are good people, who have been working selflessly at the coalface of a very difficult situation for many years.

The bad guys, in this situation, is everyone else. There are successive governments who apparently didn't care. There are builders who apparently ruined the country. There are the rest of us, who don't care enough. And there is Fianna Fail, chief bad guys, who are to blame for everything.

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