Saturday 22 October 2016

We need a government with a long-term housing policy for all

Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30

First-time buyers need 10pc deposit
First-time buyers need 10pc deposit

As a less-than-amused by-stander, I am appalled with the Government's mishandling of housing in this country.

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They appear totally unwilling to interfere with the market and get developers to build. All the while developers on the other side of this Mexican stand-off are not inclined to build unless they get a price they think they "deserve" for their units.

The facts are that a first-time buyer needs at least a 10pc deposit and can borrow 3.5 times income under sensible new Central Bank regulations. But instead of building and pricing houses at prices comparable to what people are earning, the developers seem to want a return to banks lending multiple times the income of people to shell out for overpriced units. Sure we couldn't have decent housing at reasonable prices in Ireland, now could we?

All the while, rents skyrocket, families are living in hotel rooms and thirtysomethings live with their parents so they can save for a deposit.

It's time for Labour to make this a red line issue and pull out of Government. Hopefully, then we can elect a government which is serious about putting forth a long-term housing policy that benefits all and not just the short-sighted few who want a return to the bad old days of greed and property speculation.

Patrick Doyle, Address with editor

Why the sudden urgency?

All day, every day, we have vested interests of every variety calling for more taxpayers' money to be spent on their particular project.

When we look at the figures for public expenditure over the years of the boom, we see that total public expenditure went up from €19bn in 1997 to €63bn in 2009. The message was that the government was 'awash with cash' during that period.

But the water leaks, the shortage of hospital beds, etc, were not dealt with adequately then.

Now in the aftermath of the country going bankrupt, it has to borrow billions to keep its public services going.

The question, therefore, has to be asked as to why there is such a furore about needing everything to be done now, this minute, when it was not done during the period of over a decade when the government was awash with cash.

A Leavy, Sutton, Dublin

Coalition to waste election run-in

Now that the first salvo has been fired for the General Election, it appears that the intellect of the electorate is frightening party leaders.

The fact is that the people now realise that there is absolutely no difference between the three main parties.

Now that you realise you cannot fool the Irish electorate, you try to scare the living daylights out of them, with almost daily barrages attacking Sinn Féin. The electorate won't be silly enough to put SF anywhere near power.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour should look to themselves. Action speaks louder than words.

Begin with the immediate cessation of TDs and senators wasting the time of civil servants responding to letters on items constituents are legally and constitutionally entitled to.

Spend the next three months working on proper legislation that will create change, and bring back accountability to the Dáil chamber.

Of course, with Enda Kenny in charge, the next three months will be wasted, by piecemeal legislation that will bring no real change, as he promised the people in March 2011.

And this is what has the electorate angry.

The best advice to all voters is to tell FF, FG and Labour canvassers you will put long-serving TDs last on the ballot paper. It's time for new thinking and action in Irish politics.

Declan Foley, Berwick, Australia

Summit for the rest of us

With the Web Summit set to move on to bigger and better things next year, perhaps it's time Dublin hosted an event tailored to less tech-savvy types.

People who wouldn't know how to register a Leapcard, let alone avail of a free one. I would suggest the Pleb Summit as a suitable title.

Brian Ahern, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Remembering the war dead

Sanitised, synthetic poppy badges are drained of the gushing, spurting blood of men.

Those men were there, on the battlefields of World War I, in their trembling terror, amid muck and other men's blood and guts, moaning in contorted agony, upper-class officers still barking orders, despising the foot soldiers, some merely boys, who fell like flies.

Should we forget the butchery? The many cannon-fodder lives?

Joseph Mackey, Kilkenny West, Glasson, Athlone

A mirror for our drugs laws

In response to the letter from Myles Duffy in Glenageary (Irish Independent, October 4), there is a potent example already in existence as to the efficiency of the change in attitudes and laws that Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is proposing.

Simply look at the example set by Portugal, a small Catholic country which has decriminalised drug possession. Rather than spending money on prosecuting addicts, it now spends on rehabilitation instead.

It has had a reduction in drug use, in hiv amongst drug users, in drug use amongst adolescents.

All one need do is read a few articles about the situation in Portugal. It is a mirror to Ireland and we would do well to mirror their laws, rather than persist with our current policies, which have been proven to be vastly ineffective.

Name and address with editor

Logic of modular housing sites

May I just point out one thing with regard to the polemic over the sites for the modular housing for homeless families in Dublin being in areas which have already have a high rate of social housing.

Just a few weeks ago, an article appeared in an Irish newspaper referring to the fact that Nama had offered 2,030 homes to Dublin City Council (DCC) for social housing.

DCC accepted only 757 of these homes, stating, among other factors, that some of the homes were in areas which already had a high rate of social housing.

So they don't take homes from Nama which would help ease the homeless crisis because they are in areas with a high rate of social housing but then carefully select sites for modular housing for the homeless, all in areas with a high rate of social housing.

Can someone in DCC explain the logic here for me please?

Evelyn Harte, Address with editor

Irish Independent

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