Government will pay a heavy price for housing failures
As a recent poll showed, Fine Gael lost the room when it ended the eviction ban. In fact, it lost the whole house. It bet the mortgage on private landlords re-entering the market if the eviction ban was lifted.
In reality, private landlords can’t exit the market quickly enough when the opportunity comes. There is more money to be made in short-term lets through Airbnb or selling into the swollen property market.
The Government has a fundamental responsibility to provide the public with basic social welfare, healthcare and housing services. Instead, it has abandoned its responsibilities in favour of the private market. That market is fundamentally about maximising returns on investment.
The more scarcity, the better, as prices then rise even more. The market is not there to provide for those who cannot afford to pay those prices. The greater the homelessness, the greater the desperation of those seeking accommodation at any price.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has just drafted a private briefing note for clients advising them to sell their assets prior to the advent of Sinn Féin in Government. The current Government has just made that advice all the more urgent for private landlords.
No amount of hand-wringing will change the reality of what Fine Gael has unleashed upon the people who relied on them most. There is no substitute for actually building more houses. The housing market has been in crisis for many years and yet this Government has been incapable of responding to that crisis.
The interests of existing property owners have been prioritised over the homeless.This is in stark contrast to the national mobilisation achieved in response to the pandemic, when the interests of those most at risk were prioritised over those least likely to suffer severe consequences.
There will be a heavy political price to pay for all of this. The public expects the Government to act for the greater good of the greater number, and it has been let down.
The time for excuses for lack of leadership and delivery on the public housing issue is long gone. The Government must now deliver, or else.
Frank Schnittger Blessington, Co Wicklow
What’s best for Europe isn’t necessarily best for Ireland
Since the mid-1970s there has been a constant drum-beating from successive governments that we are firstly Europeans and secondly Irish. Even our foremost Dáil leaders have promoted this allegiance to the EU bloc.
Over time, this has led to a casual carelessness in home governance. We are led to always believe that Brussels knows best on matters of vital interest to our country. As a consequence, the citizenry is frequently left with the feeling that more might be done at national level.
We see this reflected in areas such as housing, health and employment policies. The focus has shifted away from what is best for the Irish to what is best for Europe. We seem to have lost a cohesion regarding the correct way forward for the betterment of the Irish people.
Irish politicians appear to have drifted to a place where overall control now now rests with the EU. In my opinion, this unelected “World Economic Forum” approach to political thinking is an unhealthy way to proceed.
Robert Sullivan Bantry, Co Cork
Never forget the bombings of Dublin and Monaghan
In outlining key moments and turning points that marked 30 years of conflict, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were inexplicably omitted (‘From Bloody Sunday to the hunger strikes: 10 tense and tragic events that defined the Troubles’, Independent.ie, April 5). The bombings of May 17, 1974 claimed the lives of 33 innocent people.
Following the publication of the report of the Commission of Investigation into these bombings, by Mr Justice Henry Barron in 2007, it was established that it was “neither fanciful nor absurd” that members of the British security forces in Northern Ireland could have been involved in these bombings.
Furthermore, it was established by Barron that files which may be of assistance in identifying those responsible for these bombings were in the possession of the British government. Despite repeated calls for these files to be released, the British government has persistently refused.
Tom Cooper Templeogue, Dublin 6
Time to identify a lead role on issue of charging points
Regarding electric vehicles and the shortage of charging points, I have a possible solution. Longer extension leads?
Tom Gilsenan Beaumont, Dublin