Commuter belt rents a further sign of the crisis
Another day brings another discouraging report about our continuing housing crisis. This time we learn that spiralling rents are spreading to the commuter belts of our four big cities. It is not good news by any assessment.
Rents in areas that are within driving distance of Dublin, and our three bigger cities of Cork, Galway and Limerick have risen by up to 19pc in the last year. High rents and a lack of supply - now that 'reluctant landlords' have sold on their houses and flats - have caused a real flight to the suburbs.
The net result is that properties in the commuter belt are now fetching as much as €190 more per month when compared with rates 12 months ago. This housing shortage is eating into disposable incomes at a time when young people especially are being told they must save some 20pc of the purchase price - often around €60,000 - before they can qualify for a mortgage.
It is a vicious circle and it is leaving too many of our young people effectively locked out of the property market. A rising generation must face the reality that they have to abandon the dream of owning their own homes.
This is a new phenomenon, as even in tough times in the past many Irish people were able to aspire to eventually owning their own walls. This economic injustice may in a relatively short time have a knock-on effect on social cohesion. Homeowners have a very obvious stake in contributing to a better neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, the simple arithmetic of renting further out cannot be argued with. A four-bedroom detached house in Dublin 15 now costs almost €1,430 per month. For someone prepared to move 30 minutes further out to Navan, a similar home can be rented for €940. Over the course of a year, a couple could save €6,000.
The only remedy for this tangled malaise is more houses. We await Minister Coveney's plans with keen interest.
A sporting banquet for the country to savour
All eyes will be on Stade de France at 5pm today when Republic of Ireland's football team kick off against Sweden carrying all our hopes of success in Euro 2016.
Everyone will hope our football team can emulate the heroic exploits of our senior and under-20 rugby sides who this weekend defied the odds to register historic wins over South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
The rugby displays were models of skill, courage and persistence. Too often in the past Irish rugby sides played heroically against these rugby powerhouse nations, only to be undone at the final moment.
But both our rugby teams stood their ground to win out. The senior win against South Africa was particularly inspiring as the side played for 58 minutes with 14 men after a harsh red card for CJ Stander.
Only New Zealand and the Lions have previously defeated South Africa at their notoriously difficult home ground of Newlands in Cape Town.
The under-20 Ireland side also showed considerable courage and character and are now being talked about as potential winners of the under-20 world championship.
The sense of sporting occasion continues this afternoon when Martin O'Neill's men line up. The pundits rightly believe they can begin with a scarce win which could generate very positive momentum.
A sporting banquet lies before us - let's enjoy it all.