Tuesday 24 April 2018

Kevin Myers: Terrible things, bedsits -- but are they the business of Government?

MY HEART is torn: the Government is to abolish bedsits by 2013. Part of me says thank God. Another part says what business is it of the Government to choose how people live? Let the market decide.

If you're a certain age, namely, YOUNG, you probably don't even know what a bedsit is. It is an entire flat, usually minus a bathroom, lavatory or fridge, distilled into a single small room. Everything that you notionally need is there, as it was in my first bedsit, in Harcourt Street, Dublin. It had been carved out of what had once been a large Georgian drawing room, by flimsy partitions that enclosed a space just large enough to include a single bed, a narrow strip of floor alongside it, plus a tiny cooking and washing area.

The ceilings were about 20ft high; each of my walls had far more area than I had floor. The outer window-sill provided some useful extra space, also serving as an al fresco fridge. But beware. Time between one putting out uncovered meat and it vanishing? About five minutes. Sharp citizens, seagulls.

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