Sir — Apart from the fear of losing control of their properties to their tenants and the inadequacy of the Residential Tenancies Board (a quango operating in a manner that would make Dad’s Army look like an elite fighting force), there is now another reason for landlords to sit up and take note.
We hear about these soaring rent increases of 13pc reported by Daft.ie and latched on to by some of the media, then peddled onwards by the privately schooled lefties and Shinners and their professors.
The reality as I see it is totally different.
In the interests of both landlord and tenant — and in endeavouring to solve the problem of homelessness — I would suggest the Government immediately draw a distinction between the basic en suite flat renting for between €600 and €1,200 monthly (which is keeping thousands of middle- income wage earners off the streets or from sleeping in cars) and the €2,500 to €3,000 executive pads that no middle-income earner could afford.
Why not allow a yearly fixed rent increase in the region of 3pc to 5pc to the landlord with the basic accommodation and a much smaller increase for the executive pads?
This would help the landlords of lower-priced properties with maintenance and updating the premises as local authorities demand with their regular inspections.
The problem with these rental properties is that they need far more expensive maintenance than the modern, newly built pads.
What good is a 0.5pc rent increase to a landlord in this situation? Who is foolish enough to run anything at a loss?
It will be the tenants who lose out when this type of reasonably priced accommodation ceases to exist.
Joe McNeill, Templeogue, Dublin
Sir — I would like to respond to Gene Kerrigan’s article in last week’s Sunday Independent by asking him a number of questions so he may gain a greater understanding of migration into Ireland — and not just default into tagging people as being far-right. I’ll begin with the easy question.
Why are the majority of asylum-seekers claiming asylum in Ireland arriving with forged or no travel documents?
Why are the majority of asylum-seekers coming from safe countries such as Georgia, Albania and Algeria?
Why are the majority of asylum-seekers travelling through several safe countries to get here, as there are no direct flights to Ireland from many of the asylum-applicants’ countries?
Why are there practically no enforced deportations of failed asylum-seekers?
In his article, Gene also claims Ireland is not full and says this is proved because we had a larger population in pre-Famine days.
This argument is laughable.
People are concerned because social safety nets and housing services are already stretched to breaking and cannot cope with the numbers that already exist.
While the majority of people have no problem with genuine asylum-seekers from Ukraine, they do have a problem with an asylum process that is clearly being abused by undocumented economic migrants.
Peter Woods, Drogheda, Co Louth
Sir — Gene Kerrigan’s article on the far right in Ireland made for a compelling read.
We can see the failure of social democracy to protect its working-class base all around Ireland.
In the absence of coherent alternatives, this becomes pitched as a battle for resources within the working class.
I don’t believe the solution to this conundrum will ever be found in retreating to the liberal status quo. Well done, Gene, on a thought-provoking article.
John O’Brien, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Sir — The Government’s decision to not extend the eviction ban seems callous, but the ban was never going to help the rental market. Opposition parties have been playing to the election galleries, but have offered no imaginative solutions.
Obviously, that ban is a huge problem for those who need to source alternative accommodation in a market that is chronically short of housing — but maybe this will help force the Government to get their act together; otherwise, they will also be looking at eviction come the next election.
The Government has failed the country in not correcting housing supply issues, given that demand has been strong for a number of years.
One of the issues is the exodus of small landlords who are more amenable to the interests of tenants than are the big corporate investors, who have been thriving in the rental investment market on the back of generous tax treatments.
We need a mini-Budget in April to offer significant tax incentives to encourage small landlords to remain and to encourage new ones to emerge, offering favourable lease terms to tenants.
No fiddling around this time. Bold measures are needed. Why not zero tax on rental income for 10 years on all new tenancies and reduced capital gains tax?
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Sir — The description by Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty of the decision to lift the eviction ban as “cruel and heartless” was as fine a selection of populist words and sentiment as his party has delivered.
He accused the Government of “standing on the side of investment funds” rather than “putting ordinary people first”.
These graphic utterances carry the clear inference that a landlord cannot be an ordinary person in the Sinn Féin lexicon.
I think that if the Government could extend the 9pc Vat rate for the hospitality industry, it should also have further extended the eviction ban.
Nevertheless, the spewing populism of the opposition made the decision that bit more abidable than might be — because it was strangely engaging to see the Government take a stand against the superficial posturing and cheap populist rhetoric that is so common in opposition politics in this State.
Michael Gannon, St Thomas’ Square, Kilkenny
Sir — Those struggling to understand the basis for lifting the eviction ban need only ask themselves two questions.
How many of those involved in making this decision have experienced homelessness or even a threat of homelessness?
How many of those involved in making this decision have experience as landlords?
I believe the rationale behind the decision will then become very clear.
Jimmy Todd, Daingean, Co Offaly
Sir — I recently had the misfortune to catch the first five minutes of RTÉ’s new ‘comedy’ show The Dry.
That was my first mistake.
This nihilistic ‘comedy’ is painfully unfunny. Cheap shots abound, aimed specifically at everything Ireland once held true. It’s all taken out and given a good kicking.
I wonder, if you substituted Muhammad for Jesus in the opening scene, would our Muslim brethren be so quiet and accepting of this rubbish?
I must admit this constant Jesus bashing gets me down. All he did was try to help us, but it looks like he was wasting his time. We Irish are now so sophisticated and metropolitan that we accept this stuff.
Robert De Chardin, Durrow, Co Laois
Sir — While we await the proposed wording for the November constitutional referendum, perhaps the Taoiseach can clarify how many genders he intends to recognise with this change?
New York City recognised 31. How many does he intend to inscribe in the Constitution?
Shane Ambrose, Shanagolden, Co Limerick
Sir — In the weeks after DJ Carey was revealed to have had such wonderful treatment of his debts by the banks, I still wonder about the deference shown to high-profile sports players and managers.
This past week, we’ve seen an inter-county panel on an overseas hurling camp. This group consists of a number of teachers and at least one school principal.
Schools have recently returned from their mid-term break, so why did the hurling camp not take place during mid-term?
I know schools are rightly proud of having county players on their staff, but surely principals are tearing their hair out while trying to get substitutes for the absent teachers.
And if they get a substitute, who pays them? The GAA? The taxpayer?
Joseph Mackey, Kilkenny West, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Sir — I welcomed the fall of snow on Friday. For the first time in years, my lawn looked the same as everybody else’s.
Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9
Sir — We have had gatherings lately to mark the horror of the Civil War. Those who remember these occasions are almost all gone now, and so it instead falls to the descendants of those who died to forgive those who committed the atrocities.
Over the past week, speeches were made and hands were shaken. All was forgiven but not forgotten.
How can it be forgotten when we have memorials to remind us of the horrors that occurred? How can we accept the inhumanity of human beings willing to blow up others?
And yet I remember well the horror stories of what the US did in Vietnam. One famous picture showed a young girl — her clothes burnt off by napalm, running down a road screaming in pain. Yet she too appeared in last week’s newspapers forgiving the Americans for what they had done to her.
It’s all the living can do.
Michael O’Meara, Faha, Killarney, Co Kerry
Sir — W.B. Yeats’s Easter 1916 ends with the line “A terrible beauty is born”. But the Civil War spawned a terrible ugliness, particularly savage in Kerry, where atrocities were committed by those in the uniform of the Free State and by the anti-Treaty republicans.
However, in Kerry, Gaelic football played a huge part in fast-tracking the healing process. A year after the Civil War, Kerry won the All-Ireland with a team made up of players who had taken opposite sides in the conflict.
In 1932, Joe Barrett (who was on the anti-Treaty side) was Kerry captain, but in a move designed to bind old wounds, he gave the honour to Con Brosnan, who had been an officer in the Free State army.
Gestures such as this had a unifying effect on the county, and, to use a modern term, helped people move on.
The fervour engendered for Gaelic football in Kerry in those difficult years has lasted to the present day — and Kerry are again the All-Ireland football champions.
The tradition is a testament to the healing and unifying power of sport and sportsmanship. Ciarraí abú.
Jim O’Connell, Ashtown, Dublin 7
Sir — Like many other amateur drama festivals around the country, Kilmuckridge Drama Festival concluded another successful run last Sunday night.
My 84-year-old mother, Josie Moran, was in attendance — she’s one of the original founders of the festival, which started in 1958.
The festival is part of a revival of amateur drama throughout Ireland that breathed new life into old works and spawned many new plays.
Over the years, these plays have been acted out by women and men, some of whom then went on to international fame having learned the ropes playing the Bull McCabe, Sive or Christy Mahon.
Night after night, year after year, these amateur drama groups criss-crossed the country, turning remote rural halls into theatres to rival any opera house worldwide.
People like my mother were keepers of the flame, which has been passed on to the likes of Martin McDonagh and inspired his The Banshees of Inisherin.
When the Oscars are awarded early tomorrow to the Irish, anyone who has driven a set across country in the snow or manned the shop, sold raffle tickets or collected the door in the cold can stand up with the stars and take a bow, for you too have played your part.
Richard Moran, Blackwater, Co Wexford
Sir — I am the mother of a transgender daughter and am horrified to see the news coverage you are receiving.
My daughter has exquisite manners, is extremely talented and intelligent and a joy in life. She was bullied in school. Her principal was a kind, understanding lady who helped my daughter and myself.
To the student you will not recognise, be strong and know we stand with you.
My God is kind and understanding. We are all his children, no matter how many boxes we fit. He does not marginalise. As Jesus said, those who are without sin should cast the first stone.
Name and address with editor
Sir — To mark International Women’s Day 2023, an event, “Gender Equality in Irish Politics”, facilitated by the Irish Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, was held in Leinster House.
One of the invited speakers — an ‘activist’ — has in the past posted calls on social media for women who do not believe in gender ideology to be dealt with by making them “terrified and their lives a misery. They need to be smashed out of existence”.
It is difficult to understand how female politicians could consider it appropriate to give a platform to anyone who advocates such violence towards women.
Mary Butler, Knocknacarra, Galway