I have no difficulty sympathising with those calling for a rent freeze, it sounds like a good thing to do.
Indeed, in the short term, it might pay for the Government to yield to such calls when it comes to voter support.
But with the exodus of small landlords from the property market, I’m far from convinced it is the right answer.
We don’t have enough houses and need to build more. That has been our problem since local authorities locked away their wheelbarrows and spades,
and walked away from their commitments on providing houses for communities.
Having sold off their stock in the 1980s for very little, they have fallen disastrously behind in meeting public needs.
History shows our relationship with property has always been scarring. From rack-rents to absentee landlords and evictions, we have a lot of painful intergenerational emotional baggage.
When we got control of our own destinies, we might have hoped for better, but the dysfunctional relationship between some developers and some political parties delivered first a boom – and then a ruinous bust.
The intervening decade has opened up a chasm between demand and supply.
At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, unless the Government takes
ownership of building, scores of affordable and social housing schemes we will be reduced to sticking-plaster measures, while the property wound festers.
We owe our generation of young people more than a ticket out of their homeland to
work in countries where they might better afford to either rent or buy. Governments have to get radical. This may mean recruiting workers from abroad and putting them into prefabs while they are on the job, to make sure we have the labour force to deliver the urgently needed homes.
Handing the whole lot over to the private sector is not working.
And why would it? A drip-feed of delivery guarantees prices and demand remain high, while the number of houses remains low. We are going backwards on targets, and unless we change strategies, we are courting an economic and social nightmare.
Ed Toal, New York (and Galway City)
AS the war in Ukraine enters its second year, could China become a peace broker in Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II?
With China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin in recent days, there is hope that the first steps to a peaceful resolution to this major conflict can be found.
In the past year, tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions uprooted from their homes, the global economy hammered and Putin has become a pariah in the west.
With Ukraine planning a spring counter-offensive and Russia apparently preparing to attack in even greater numbers in the days ahead, is it not time for cool heads to prevail and try to defuse the conflict?
China, as a world power seeking global respect, now has a unique opportunity as a neighbour and friend of Russia to try find a pathway to peace.
China has been quiet in recent times and has only offered inflated support to Moscow. Talks are the only way forward to a lasting peace that could negate the threatened use of nuclear weapons which could wipe out mankind.
In the words of the late British prime minister Winston Churchill: “To Jaw-Jaw is better than to War-War.’’
Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo
IT has been a year of death and dishonour for the Russians after their invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have fought back and surprised the Russians with their courage under attack. All Putin has really achieved is the deaths of Russian soldiers, the killing of Ukrainians, both military and civilian, and the destruction of a great amount of property.
There has also been a suspicious number of Russian billionaires and generals who have died after falling out of windows – a sign that criticism of the invasion might not be a safe option.
Everyone – including many Russians – wants Putin to take his forces home before this spreads to involve the rest of the world in a battle that could involve nuclear weapons.
Enough is enough, stop.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne
YOUR editorals ‘As East and West close ranks, the primary goal for all concerned should be peace’, February 23, and ‘Putin’s sabre-rattling has no place in history’, February 24; pose a number of challenges to the political class, and the citizenry who want peace in the world.
In The Political Testament of Cardinal Richelieu, the cleric stated: “Common sense leads each one of us to understand that man, having been endowed with reason, should do nothing except that which is reasonable, since otherwise he would be acting contrary to nature...there is nothing in nature less compatible with reason than emotion.”
Which brings us to the two unreasonable “emotional” leaders of today: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
The old adage that ‘money is the root of all evil’ has been proven by the rush to buy cheap Chinese goods as western governments, urged by entrepreneurs, imagined they did not require home engineering capacities.
Last year, Australia was held hostage to China by their detaining of cargo ships laden with coal and ore for months in no-man’s land inside Chinese sea limits, but unable to dock or have access to ports for the crew. Hence no payments for cargoes. As with Putin, China thinks it can dominate the world.
The Putin-Xi ‘pact’ should remind both men of the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. Germany and the Soviet Union each imagined they could use the other to control the world.
What we see with these two leaders now is emotion in action. They eliminate or imprison anyone who calls their actions out.
In his 1933 inaugural address, US president Franklin D Roosevelt said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That is as true today as it was then.
Politicians have to start living in the moment. Stock exchanges need to begin talking of evenness in humanity in preference to massive bonuses.
But it is the citizens of the world who have a power they overlook. Gandhi showed that peace frightened the British because they believed violence created fear and peace was something they could not grasp, let alone understand.
To frighten the warmongers, people should peacefully gather outside every Chinese and Russian embassy in the west, and stand without banners or placards, in absolute silence.
Declan Foley, Melbourne
THE colossal magnitude of the Ukranian-Russian war defies comprehension and can make anyone of us who lives in its shadow crumble.
We pause and reflect on the indescribable brutality and unrivalled litany of injustices, persecutions and criminalisation meted out to fellow human beings.
Amid the stench of disease, destruction, desolation, destitution, desperation, rage, fear, sickness, powerlessness and hopelessness, people continue to be led to their deaths.
With the mounting resurgence of Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, violence, discrimination, systematic killings, and rape across the globe; how can we say that we learned any lesson from the Holocaust, past genocide, mass atrocities and historical subjugation?
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London
I AGREE with Brian Devitt (‘Censoring Roald Dahl? Only proper twits would do that’, Letters, February 23). British Queen Consort Camilla gave a speech this week in which she urged authors to resist curbs on freedom of expression.
Several sentences in Dahl’s books are being changed. In James and the Giant Peach, Aunt Sponge is no longer “terrifficly fat”, but is instead a “nasty old brute”.
As the saying goes: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”
Freedom of speech and language is being taken away, leave well alone and let children enjoy the freedom to read.
Susan Burke, Cahir Tipperary