Far too many have no place to call home
Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30
They say that you should study the past if you would define the future. Kings and governments through the centuries have noted that if the cottage is restless, there will be very little sleep in the castle. Alas, the lessons of history are too readily ignored. If Fine Gael is in any way perplexed about its five-point dive in the latest opinion poll, it shouldn't be.
Putting the considerable Irish Water nightmare to one side, another and arguably far more urgent issue on which there is inexplicable inertia is the housing crisis.
Today we reveal the alarming extent of the problem, and how it is having a devastating impact on people's lives.
There are two major obstacles, both of which the Government has had a hand in.
One is a scarcity of houses, and the second is the difficulty of obtaining finance if there was a house available.
Urban councils and major commuting zones are showing a serious fall-off in new homes. The Dublin city area is, as might be expected, being hit hardest.
The lack of construction is just part of the story, though. Families wishing to move on from their starter home or apartment are walled in, thanks to Central Bank constraints.
Property experts are adamant that existing homeowners are struggling to save the 20pc deposit required to secure a mortgage for a new home. The market is therefore in danger of paralysis.
The Ireland Strategic Infrastructure Fund has committed to lending €500m, but this is clearly inadequate. Thus, we have the makings of another perfect omnishambles if builders can't get money and borrowers can't raise a deposit.
The Housing Agency has made it plain that we require 21,000 units every year to meet demand.
It surely is not beyond the Government's ken to address these issues.
It is not unreasonable for people to aspire to owning a home, but it is unreasonable for their leaders to get in the way of their doing so.