Marc Coleman: Forget 1913 lockout, sort out 2013 lock-in
We live in a country blessed with abundant space, yet State avarice has us trapped in our homes.
HOW ironic that just as Michael D Higgins is asking us to commemorate the 1913 Lockout centenary, one of the most notorious facets of life of that time is returning to haunt us. In his classic novel Strumpet City, James Plunkett depicted the Dublin of 1913 as a place where growing families lived in chronic poverty, in apartments unfit for any family. In terms of material poverty, there is no comparison between a century ago and today.
But if you experience any of the following – toys strewn all over the floor of your only living space, washing hanging on the banisters, queues for the toilet – then you are suffering from a poverty that your forebears would recognise – spatial poverty. And unlike the poverty of a century ago, it is a poverty created not by the failure of the Irish economy, but by overtaxation and a failure of the State.
Ireland is blessed with being one of the least densely populated nations in Europe. Even green and pleasant Denmark is twice as densely populated (if we had Danish population density, we would have approximately 12 million living on this island and would still be far less densely populated than Britain).