Sunday 25 September 2016

Asking 'empty nesters' to sell homes is just ridiculous

Published 18/03/2016 | 02:30

For Sale signs near the South Circular Road in Dublin.
For Sale signs near the South Circular Road in Dublin.

Let's knock this 'empty nester' forced eviction nonsense on the head, once and for all.

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Various plans mooted so far to force us elderly out of our beloved homes include taxing unused rooms, raising the property tax, taxing our large gardens, etc.

This blinkered approach totally ignores the misery and mental as well as physical ill-health that this form of financial forced eviction would cause thousands of elderly, especially those on small fixed incomes.

So let's ask the experts what exactly it is they hope to gain by inflicting so much hardship on thousands of tired, worn-out and vulnerable elderly householders.

It will make about 26,000 larger (and presumably more expensive) homes available for young families (who currently cannot even raise the deposit on smaller, cheaper homes), they will chant.

So what about the 26,000 elderly evicted who will now have the ready cash to start hoovering up any small house that comes on the market? Competition for small houses will become even more bitter and intense of course, making it even harder for younger couples with families to get on the housing ladder.

George Mac Donald

Gorey, Co Wexford

Your article 'Pay elderly to sell empty nest homes, Cabinet told' (Irish Independent, March 8) both shocked and angered me.

The number of over 50s who live alone in homes with four or more rooms is 26,000, and it appears to me to be a ridiculous suggestion to give them cash to move out and find smaller properties.

Firstly, many of the people included in the figure of 26,000 will not want to move and leave their homes for various reasons; whether it is the memories made there, perfecting their décor, or the sad thought of leaving their family home.

I think it's almost inhumane to quite literally bribe them to leave in order to make way for the younger generation. An incredibly large sum of money would be wasted on such a plan.

The people described as "empty nesters" will not take small amounts of money, and as a country, we are in no position to be giving away large amounts.

This money would be better spent finishing many of the "ghost" estates that were never completed or helping the 5,000 people who are homeless and should be offered appropriate shelter.

Hannah Hennessy

Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath

Biden's support for Kenny

The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has been making public statements about American preferences in our national elections. Speaking at an official engagement celebrating St Patrick's Day, he issued support for the caretaker Taoiseach, saying Enda Kenny was the "most popular guy in his state but still lost". This incident could be seen as crossing a line regarding US involvement in the Irish political process.

I would like to call on the US ambassador to Ireland to clarify whether the US government is taking a stance in favour of a particular political party and whether we in Ireland are to expect more of this. Many who do not support the Fine Gael party might like to understand why their party of choice does not find the same support from the government in America as seems to be enjoyed by Fine Gael.

Caitríona McClean

Lucan, Dublin

'Calling out' is for cowboys

"Calling out" is the latest buzz phrase for demonising people you don't like. It seems to equate to being accused of witchcraft, heresy or demonic possession back in the Middle Ages.

Every time I read it, I think of six-guns at sun-up; the cowboy in the white hat calling out some no-good, backshootin', bushwhackin' skunk and giving him a bellyful of lead.

Tom Farrell

Swords, Co Dublin

Taoiseach dilemma not so bad

Looking at the various candidates for the position of Taoiseach following the general election, I thought to myself - surely, in a nation of 4.5 million people, we can do better than that.

But now I am looking at the USA with a population in excess of 320 million and it seems that, later this year, they will have to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the highest political office in their country.

Maybe we're not so bad after all.

Michael Stephens

Raheen, Co Limerick

Trump's wall

Why does Donald Trump think a wall between the USA and Mexico is going to keep out illegal immigrants?

Did the Maginot Line keep Hitler out of France? No. Hitler's forces just went around it.

Did the Great Wall of China keep the Mongols out of China? No. They just went around it.

Did a wall around Rome keep out the Vandals? No.

I've just spent an evening in a bar in Manhattan with an illegal immigrant who has been in New York for over nine months. How is Donald's wall going to keep illegal immigrants out of Manhattan? They are just going to go around his wall.

America's immigration policy needs well-paid, professional, trained people to enforce it. No wonder Trump wants Mexico to pay for this wall of his. When the American people realise Donald's Wall hasn't worked, they are going to be pretty cross if the project is paid for with their US tax dollars.

Nigel F Boddy

Darlington, UK

Facebook and death

According to reports, Facebook is in danger of becoming a giant graveyard.

Apparently, at some point in the future, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones - and for those left behind, it is transforming how we experience the death of those around us.

Thus, when a person passes on, their Facebook page is still available to all friends on Facebook.

There is obviously a difficulty for the friend who does not know that the person has died.

Perhaps Facebook might address this by changing access rules so that someone who has not used the site for a month must sign in again.

Fergus Jordan

Dublin 4

Kenny and 'bejaysus'

What on Earth is wrong with our Taoiseach? How can he command respect if he acts as an eejit on the world stage. Who uses the word "bejaysus" in normal conversation? I live in the heart of rural Galway and have never heard it used.

Margaret Jennings

Ballinasloe, Co Galway

Irish Independent

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