Letters: Government repeating same old property mistakes
In a week in which the Bank of England warned that booming house prices in Britain could seriously threaten that country's economic recovery, it really is beyond belief that the Irish Government should put forward a proposal to subsidise mortgages for first-time buyers of new houses.
Considering the damage reckless bank lending and 100pc mortgages did a few short years ago, it is incomprehensible that the Department of Finance, Central Bank and Financial Regulator could condone this blatant attempt at vote buying by this morally bankrupt Government.
The effect of this initiative, if implemented, would be to have a lot more buyers in a market in which there is an acute lack of houses for sale in Dublin. This would obviously cause upward pressure on prices and panic to get on the housing ladder (does this sound familiar?).
Over the weekend several noted economists and academics were scathing in their criticism of this scheme – which, to make matters worse, will do nothing to address the present problem.
If the current lack of supply problem is being caused by developers sitting on zoned land or not having access to finance to build houses, then these are the problems that need to be addressed.
A half-baked scheme which will cause runaway house prices is not the solution.
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
REGULATING HOUSE MARKET
A house, like anything else, has a definite value. With a house, however, location is the real determining factor. All houses advertised should have a fixed selling price – complying with their location, simply their true value. For example: Price €280,000. The first viewer that decides to buy and pays the necessary deposit is the owner. No messing!
Buying a house by auction or tender is an unpredictable price that fluctuates, not its true value, and is a gamble best left to the rich. A government-appointed professional valuer and surveyor should stipulate a maximum house price guideline for each area, updated yearly. Potential buyers would then have some idea of the cash required and the mortgage to have in place well in advance.
It would certainly stabilise prices. At present, a couple could be in the process of arranging a mortgage or cash for a specific house and be told when they got back to the agent there had been a further bid of €20,000, or maybe more. A horrible way of treating a young couple making the biggest deal of their lives.
THURLES, CO TIPPERARY
SOCIAL HOUSING SCANDAL
The ongoing crisis in the local and national housing sector is a terrible indictment of all previous and present government policies fuelled by speculative economics and pushed by an EU agenda around privatisation.
This State has a moral responsibility to provide housing which is not only functional and meets daily human needs, but is also aesthetically appealing.
People have gone from paying just 20pc of their income on private mortgages 30 years ago to paying 60pc today. It is time for change and a social housing programme for all, enabling families to live decently.
CLONDALKIN, DUBLIN 22
US SPYING IN EUROPE
Since the US government has charged five Chinese military officials with cyber-spying, perhaps the European Court of Justice will now instigate proceedings against the Americans for similar activities in Europe?
CARRICK-ON-SHANNON, CO LEITRIM
TIMELY PR BOOST FOR CATS
I'm delighted that Tara the cat's heroic act in saving a Californian toddler from an attacking dog was caught on camera and has been viewed by millions worldwide. What a well-deserved and long-overdue PR boost for cats.
Throughout history cats have been maligned, misunderstood and persecuted by people who just didn't understand these unique creatures and their place in the scheme of things.
During the witch craze in Europe countless thousands of them were burned for being "familiars" of the alleged female dabblers in black or white magic.
In ancient Rome they were punished in accordance with a different but equally silly superstition. Unfortunately they are still suffering as a result of man's ignorance and inhumanity.
Today there are more than 200,000 feral cats in Ireland, thanks in large part to a failure on the part of some cat owners to spay or neuter them. They have little protection under anti-cruelty legislation, with trapping and killing of non-domestic cats an increasing source of concern to animal welfare groups.
Domestic and feral cats alike are forced to serve as bait in training sessions organised by dog fighting and hare coursing gangs, the animals' tougher skin deemed an advantage in teasing and blooding the dogs.
Cats deserve a break. Tara's high profile act of heroism may have grabbed the world headlines, but cats are beneficial to humans in other ways too.
They keep mice and rats at bay and, apart from being the most lovable companions, they bring comfort especially to people living alone.
They can literally help to preserve one's sanity.
While I'm sure all good doggies go to heaven, it wouldn't be much of a place if Tara and the other cats of this world didn't get in there too!
CALLAN, CO KILKENNY
A LOT ON THEIR PLATE?
Behind the posing Fianna Fail election team in Tullamore, Co Offaly, I spotted an 'EAT AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE' sign. It would appear that at least one of the group had availed of the offer.
YOUR EUROPEAN VOTE COUNTS
From tomorrow until Sunday over 380 million citizens from across the 28 member states of the EU will go to the polls to elect the European Parliament's 751 members.
This Friday over three million people in Ireland will have an opportunity to elect our 11 MEPs.
In recent years, as this country has experienced seismic economic shifts, Europe has been at the forefront of the Irish national media and the forefront of the minds of the citizens living and working here.
What happens in Europe has a knock-on effect on Ireland – the EU's successes are our successes, its challenges are our challenges and, regardless of the difficulties we both may face, our futures are inextricably linked.
We in European Movement Ireland do not endorse any political party or any candidate, whether party-affiliated or independent. However, what we do endorse is the democratic process.
We are fortunate in modern-day Ireland that we have the right to vote. However, with that right comes a responsibility to exercise that right.
Very important issues face the next European Parliament. It has never been more vital that Irish people participate in our democratic process and provide whoever we elect with the strongest mandate possible.
Have your say about what type of Europe you want for the next five years. Make sure your vote counts this Friday.
CHAIRMAN, EUROPEAN MOVEMENT IRELAND, 8 LOWER FITZWILLIAM STREET, DUBLIN 2