Thursday 17 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Older people must not be blamed for the housing crisis'

Stock: Getty Images
Stock: Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

With regard to the latest spin by our obviously inept Department of Housing about the elderly surrendering large family homes for smaller supported homes in developments specifically for older persons, I would like to bring the following to the attention of the voting public.

There are more than 6,000 older persons on the social housing list in Ireland. Some have been on the list for many years, some have medical priority, welfare priority or homeless priority. Dublin City Council currently has more than 1,500 older persons on its waiting list and nearly 1,000 on its transfer list.

Taking into account these statistics, exactly where will the Department of Housing find homes in supported communities for the elderly that it is now encouraging to give up their homes?

Will these new applicants be given priority over the elderly who have been patiently waiting for years for adequate housing? How fair is this? If the Department of Housing currently cannot offer supported housing to older persons already on its waiting list, then why is it making out it can offer this type of accommodation to those who surrender larger properties?

Please don’t blame older persons occupying larger properties for a problem that they didn’t create and aren’t exacerbating. Just build social housing, it’s as simple as that.

Evelyn Harte

Address with editor


We should give credit where it’s due to our Navy personnel

JOHN Downing’s excellent article (‘Gunboat rhetoric: DUP ignoring facts here – but fisheries are a big Brexit issue’, Irish Independent, March 2) and his reference to “the highly professional Irish Navy as being a long way from the public sector poor relation lampooned by the Dubliners’ 67 song”, deserves a comment.

It is unfortunate that yet again The Dubliners’ disparaging remarks about those who served on the corvettes LÉ Clíona, LÉ Maebh and LÉ Macha receives a mention. To be precise, personnel who served during the period 1946 to the late 1960s kept these vessels afloat despite a lack of investment by government. Indeed successive Irish governments ignored warnings by senior naval officers of the urgent requirement for new ships. Thankfully in recent years, the Fine Gael/Labour coalition upgraded the service and purchased new vessels.

In September 2016, the history of those who served on the corvettes was exemplified when then-defence minister Simon Coveney unveiled a commemorative stone on the Haulbowline naval base, dedicated to the crew of LÉ Cliona. The inscription reads, “In recognition of the ship’s company of LÉ Cliona, whose collective actions, following a fire on board ship, on 29th May 1962, ensured the safe return of LÉ Cliona to port”.

Perhaps these words are a more appropriate epitaph in memory of those who served on the Irish corvettes, rather than the disparaging remarks of a folk group?

Peter Mulvany

Clontarf, Dublin 3


Unions avoid taking a stance on unity for very good reason

TRADE unions on the island of Ireland have long maintained a neutral position on the question of Irish unity, and it is regrettable there are calls from some quarters for an end to this, as Martina Devlin outlines in her article (‘Trade unions have recognised the reunification of our island would be a great opportunity to benefit everyone who lives here’, Irish Independent, March 2).

Arguing in support of Irish unity, Ms Devlin casually waves away having to take on the €11.6bn subvention to Northern Ireland by pointing out we managed to find €64bn to bail out our banks, and moreover points to vague “economies of scale” that would be created by amalgamating the different health and educational systems in a united Ireland.

She omits to mention the bank bailout cost us our economic sovereignty, while the only way significant “economies” could be made from merging services would be through large-scale redundancies, which is not exactly something to be welcomed from a trade union perspective.

There is no evidence the views of those involved in the ‘Trade Unionists for a New and United Ireland’ grouping are anything other than a small minority and it is for good reason unions have avoided taking a stance on the “national question”, namely that it is a divisive and sectarian issue for workers in Northern Ireland.

Not inherently sectarian, perhaps, but sectarian in the reality of Northern Ireland as it is today, and, as long as people continue to be brought up in a sectarian educational system, will remain so.

It may be that at some future point a new generation who have come through an integrated education system will be able to consider the question of a united Ireland on its merits, but until then it will serve only to exacerbate divisions and distract workers from the struggles we have in common.

Osal Kelly

Delgany, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent

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