Developers have no interest in doing the ‘dirty’ work

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Letters to the Editor

I really enjoyed the humour of Derek Ross’s letter (‘Leaders’ mixed messages over housing crisis make a mockery of despair felt by thousands’, Irish Independent, Letters, March 18) on his “confusion about the mixed messages” that our inspired leaders gave us around St Patrick’s Day. I am with him as he declares that thousands of our citizens and their children will be begging for a roof over their heads come the summer.

However, I can assure him that begging will not solve the problem as we have already created a Housing Minister, replacing the local authorities who provided accommodation for Irish citizens from the formation of our State until the 1980s.

The housing crisis will not be solved until the tradesmen and women, like block-layers, plasterers, painters and electricians, have a permanent and pensionable position with the local authorities.

Our leaders expect our tradesmen and women to spend the rest of their lives as “jobbing employees”, serving the millionaire developers as they wish to build, providing the price is right. They have hundreds or even thousands of acres with full planning permission, waiting for price increases.

The local authorities would not only build new houses in their area, they would also refit the hundreds of council houses left vacant as the tenants leave them. They would also be available in refitting derelict commercial properties as the business in those properties has moved to the outskirts where parking is available for customers.

Our leaders’ developers would not dirty their hands in doing the above kind of work.

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

Dropping word ‘landlord’ is something we should aim for

The words “landlord” and “eviction” are provocative to the Irish psyche ever since the 19th-century land campaign by Michael Davitt and the Irish National Land League to abolish landlordism in Ireland and to protect the rights of tenant farmers.

The three Fs – free sale, fixed tenure and fair rent – were demands by the Land League in the campaign for land reform. Free sale meant a tenant could sell the interest in his holding directly to an incoming tenant.

Fixed tenure meant that a tenant could not be evicted if he had paid the rent. Fair rent meant rent control in Ireland by land courts and not by British absentee landlords.

In the present controversy surrounding the lifting of the ban on evicting tenants, the appropriateness of the word “landlord” was raised. It’s time to replace “landlord” with “property owner”.

The eviction of a tenant or a family in a country which suffered centuries of property aggrandisement under British rule is cruel. In a housing shortage, a tenant must have a guarantee of fixed tenure and fair rent.

Allowing cuckoo funds and property owners to enrich themselves in an accommodation crisis is wrong. But this time we can’t blame it on the shameful imperialism that Michael Davitt condemned.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

Putin’s state terrorism is on a scale that’s hard to grasp

Neither Russia nor the US accept the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC). China and India share the same view. The ICC might, therefore, seem irrelevant, particularly when you consider the numbers killed in the Iraq wars and the attack on Libya.

However, war was initially declared on these latter countries by the US-led Nato forces, which legitimised their enactment, regardless of opposition.

In the case of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin did not declare war and calls his attack on civilians and infrastructure a “military operation”. Therefore, the deaths and damage inflicted on Ukraine is an act of unmitigated state terrorism on a previously unimaginable scale.

By acting outside the boundaries of agreed protocols in the processing of a desired war, Putin has denied the Russian state any fig leaf that would legitimise their actions.

Eugene Tannam

Firhouse Dublin 24

Speaking Irish is not exactly a springboard to success

I was extremely interested in John Downing’s recent assertion that the Irish language is a great help in finding well-paid work (‘Let’s spread the word: speaking Irish is cool – and it could help you get a well-paid job’ – Irish Independent, March 14).

This prompted me, as an Irish language sector employee, to reflect on the path my life has taken.

Having received my bachelor’s degree in autumn 2008, it was nearly nine years before I managed to get a full-time job in my field (something which happened in spring 2017).

If there has ever been a gravy train, nobody bought me a ticket.

Justin Scannell

Christchurch, Dublin 8