Wednesday 21 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Those who turn down social housing create a new scandal'

Nearly 5,500 applicants turned down offers of social housing since 2016. Stock photo
Nearly 5,500 applicants turned down offers of social housing since 2016. Stock photo
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

While some mainstream media organisations, social housing charities and certain councillors and politicians constantly bombard us about the thousands of homeless people in Ireland, here are a few facts that they might publish, but will not.

Nearly 5,500 applicants turned down offers of social housing since 2016.

Some 357 of the applicants refused more than one offer of social housing and these included families.

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The excuses range from anti-social behaviour, gardens not big enough, not enough bedrooms, lack of bus routes and fewer facilities, and the list goes on.

In my own county of Donegal, there were 129 multiple refusals of social housing from 61 applicants, a fact that certain councillors seeking re-election fail to allude to.

There were 78 in Sligo, 40 in Meath, 40 in Cork and the list goes on.

Between 2018 and 2021 our Government will have handed over €3bn to private landlords and in HAP payments to house the homeless.

While we constantly hear the crisis that is homelessness, what we aren’t hearing are the voices of concerned taxpayers who are working and who do not meet the criteria for any type of social housing/housing given the rules and criteria that apply to applicants.

While we hear the tragedy that is homelessness, we don’t hear the scandal of the refusals.

It may be unpalatable to some or even seen as outrageous to mention refusals, but it is the truth and one we pay dearly for.

Christy Galligan

Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Speaking with the voice of experience over Toastmasters

I was fortunate to read Keane’s Kingdom by Billy Keane (“If you’re nervous about speaking in public like I was, don’t lollygag – join up with this talkative crew,” Irish Independent, April 13). It spoke about the organisation Toastmasters and where members join to gain confidence in speaking in public.

Briefly, some years ago I went along to a meeting held in my home town, and I was made very welcome.

During the topics section, I stood up and answered the question addressed to me. I gave a very brief answer and sat down. My heart started to beat rather quickly and a trickle of perspiration made its way from the top of my spine to the base of my back. I decided, there and then, Toastmasters was not for me and I would never be able to speak in public.

In hindsight it would have been the worst decision I would have made, and would always regret.

I picked up courage and went back. I started to enjoy the meetings and soon started to give my ‘icebreaker’ – my first speech.

Finally at our last meeting last week, I glanced around at our members at their tables.

They all had a smile on their face, they were all prepared to contribute and we all were there to work on our confidence in speaking in public.

Patrick Greham

Ballina, Co Mayo

Casting rhyme and reason on health and homelessness

“When hope is gone, we turn to fantasy. Imagine, then, that patients lie on beds,

Not trolleys; and, unworried by the fee,

Can rest, unHarrised, just like sleepyheads.

Imagine too the homeless, warm, secure,

Untroubled by the lack of Murphy’s Law,

And all included, whether rich or poor:

They bless their God with every breath they draw.

But these are fantasies, Utopian.

The trolleys mount in numbers; families walk

In boredom round hotels. There is no plan.

And politicians talk. They’re good at talk.”

Name and address with editor

Brexit has already overrun the very latest of breakfasts

As I was partaking of my breakfast porridge, I learned from the label of the milk carton that the content was produced in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

I started wondering. In post Brexit (if there ever is such an era), where will my milk come from?

My father had gone to his reward decades before the word Brexit was coined. But he would always describe meetings and discussions that dragged on as “the length of a late breakfast”.

Mattie Lennon

Blessington, Co Wicklow

Raising a glass to Guinness in fight against plastic waste GOOD to see Guinness on the anti-plastic crusade. Mind you on the security front, one wonders what is the alternative to the (dreaded) plastic cup, containing your pint at concerts, sporting events etc?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont D9

Irish Independent

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