Sunday 23 October 2016

Government divisions add to the rental crisis

Published 26/10/2015 | 02:30

No reasonable person is going to put money into something when there are too many unknown factors
No reasonable person is going to put money into something when there are too many unknown factors

Investors have good reason to fear uncertainty. No reasonable person is going to put money into something when there are too many unknown factors. The see-saw history of the Irish property market has taught many bitter lessons.

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And now a new cause of instability is adding to a growing housing crisis in Ireland.

The Environment Minister, Alan Kelly, has promised some form of curb on rising rents as long ago as March 1 last at the Labour Party national conference in Killarney. Eight months later that promise remains unfulfilled.

Mr Kelly still insists that 'rent certainty' will be brought in as a short-term measure. The Labour Party TD, who has notably always avoided the term 'rent controls', argues that it "has to happen".

But Mr Kelly is still unable to say how this scheme might work, and lacking these details, others struggle to assess this unknown quantity. The internal government rift is a symptom of Mr Kelly's abrasive style and is causing mounting tensions within the Government, including divisions on the Labour Party side of the Coalition.

Experts are now linking the rise in rents, and a drop-off in investment in housing, to Mr Kelly's rent certainty problems. This is view supported by some senior members of Government.

The very existence of the promise of so-called 'rent certainty' has fed instability in an already disturbed rental property market. It is a most unsatisfactory situation for citizens who rely upon the Government to order their affairs and help them through difficult problems like these.

The Environment Minister should at the very least not make the rental housing market worse, if he cannot manage to improve matters.

Fond farewell to Ireland's first Hollywood A-lister

Best known for her role as Mary Kate Danaher in 'The Quiet Man', the late actress Maureen O'Hara was Ireland's first major Hollywood screen legend.

She was accepted into the Abbey Theatre at the tender age of 14, and the course of history was altered when Maureen Fitzsimons met the British actor and director Charles Laughton, who stared opposite the fiery redhead in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Jamaica Inn' and who suggested she change her surname to O'Hara.

The accomplished athlete, who as a teenager wanted to play for Shamrock Rovers (co-owned by her father, Charles Stewart Parnell Fitzsimons), forged a peerless path in Hollywood, performing with some of the film industry's greatest directors and actors, including John Ford and John Wayne, her co-star in 'The Quiet Man' and four other films.

Off screen, O'Hara was a publisher and businesswoman who became the first female president of a commercial airline in the USA, following the death of her third husband, former US Air Force Colonel Charles Blair.

Despite her prolific career, O'Hara was one of many stars who never received an Academy Award. However, the record was corrected last year when O'Hara was awarded an honorary Oscar.

One of the roles Maureen O'Hara performed continuously throughout her life was that of global ambassador for her beloved Ireland.

Her family have asked fans to visit these shores in her memory, ensuring that her legacy will endure in death as in life.

Irish Independent

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