Sinead Ryan: 'UK pay-to-stay missive a little 'unsettling' '
There's nothing like starting the new year with a bang. Out with the festive cheer, in with the moaning bank balance and sore head.
But however hard it seems this week, we still have Brexit to come, less than 90 short days away. For those already perched nervously on the edge of their seats wondering how it's all going to go down, not to worry: the British government has its priorities right.
During the festive season (can't have enough Christmas cheer, right?) it issued a missive to EU citizens living in the UK ordering them and their families to apply to an "EU settlement scheme" if they want to go on living in good old Blighty after March. It adds, rather ominously, "if your application is successful, you'll get either settled or pre-settled status". As titles go, it's not quite up there with the queen's new year's honours list.
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It claims it is simply attempting to count who's who and what's what. And check them for criminal records. Ahem.
The tone-deaf ad campaign shows happy preppy millennials who are mostly people of colour working as baristas, child-minders and waiters.
What could possibly go wrong?
But Irish people don't need to worry. They're pre-selected, so to speak. Paddies will be automatically given the status of 'indefinite leave to remain' … an unfortunate term given that's exactly what most British people seem to now want when it comes to the EU.
In any event, all the 'foreigners' will have to fork out £65 (€71.50) each for the pleasure of the application, plus £32.50 for each of their kids. The Pay-to-Stay scheme will apply to more than three million people so has caused a considerable backlash, bearing in mind most are living and working legally in Britain, some for many years and without whom the NHS, retail and industry would come to a standstill.
We're not the only ones getting housing wrong
In unrelated news, British applications for Irish passports rose by 22pc in 2018 - to 180,000.
Mind you, if all of them decide to jump on the boat and come to Ireland, where will we put them? Our housing crisis is as bad as ever, with 10,000 homeless and 10 times that number on the housing list. Such a stark, bleak situation, which has pertained for more years than any other country would tolerate, without any evidence of clear, time-lined solutions, makes it inescapable that maintaining these numbers now appears to be government policy.
Hard as it is to believe, Dublin isn't the most expensive city on Earth to live. That accolade is generally given to Hong Kong, which has had to come up with innovative ways to address its own housing shortage over the years.
The latest is the introduction of 'nano flats'. Huge developments of tiny living units, each around the same size as your average parking space, were unveiled two years ago. The smallest, 12 sq m space is perfectly modelled with every inch of space accounted for with beds doubling as tables, sofas becoming office desks and storage in the ceiling.
It was hailed as the latest model in city living. However, at the launch of the latest 73 unit block (each priced up to an eye-watering €500,000), only two sold. Back to the architectural drawing board, methinks.
Gem of a heel takes bling to a whole other level
if you still have a bit of cash left, what way to make you feel better in dreary January than a new pair of shoes?
The 'Passion Diamond' high heels were launched in Dubai recently, adorned with 236 gems totalling 100 carats set in white gold on six-inch spikes. Sound comfy.
The price? Yours for $17m (€15m).