Deirdre Conroy: We talk about housing but when it comes to action the Government seems clueless
On my journey each day across the south suburbs through the city, across the Liffey to Dublin 7, I pass vacant sites, boarded up for decades, derelict Victorian houses and crumbling cottages; in the back streets off the quays are abandoned warehouses, boarded-up shops with empty accommodation above. All of this is in a city where property is more expensive than in Paris. The anomaly between our empty buildings, vacant sites and the housing crisis appears to be an imponderable mystery to those in charge. Space is not at a premium, we have the capacity, just not the joined-up thinking.
The crisis was well under way when Phil Hogan headed off to Europe, leaving it in the hands of Alan Kelly and Paudie Coffey. But four years of this Government have seen the crisis lurch from bad to catastrophic. It is a situation where children are living in one room with their parents, only slightly less destitute than in the slums of the turn of the last century.
The alarming paradox is that Ireland is the fastest-growing economy in Europe. How can that be true if homeless charities report that 70 families per month are being made homeless?