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True cause of our housing crisis is stock, not immigrants

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Not enough social houses are being built to meet demand. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA

Not enough social houses are being built to meet demand. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA

Not enough social houses are being built to meet demand. Photo: Rui Vieira/PA

In yesterday's Irish Independent, David Quinn referred to the need to have an open discussion about migration ('Huge scale of immigration is making our housing crisis worse'), something the Immigrant Council of Ireland is consistently promoting.

However, this discussion must be based on clear, honest information.

There is one clear cause of the housing crisis - insufficient housing stock. After the economic crash, the amount of new social houses coming on stream plummeted and we are playing catch up (poorly) for five years of grossly inadequate social housing build. Access to social housing lists is, in fact, very restricted for both EU and non-EU nationals living in Ireland. EU citizens need to prove they are workers under EU law. For non-EU citizens, access to social housing lists is limited to only a fraction of the non-EU population in Ireland, for example those married to Irish citizens or those who have been granted refugee status after fleeing a situation like that in Syria.

Anyone who accesses our long-faltering public health service will know the essential role skilled workers from abroad play in holding it together. Furthermore, the recent report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), 'Monitoring Report on Immigration 2016', to which Mr Quinn refers, found there is a high percentage of young skilled people in our migrant population who are underemployed and therefore not given the opportunity to contribute.

Debate about immigration is important and healthy. But as we have seen in other countries, the damage that non-factual and emotive pronouncements do to the whole of society is considerable. Successful integration brings benefits for the whole of society and far from being a drain, when managed correctly, is a boon.

Brian Killoran

CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland

 

Immigration figures don't stack up

In his article on immigration (Irish Independent, Friday, March 3), David Quinn questioned whether Ireland has a "...level of immigration we can successfully cope with". He implied that public services are creaking under the weight of new arrivals. He was also careful to deny any racial animus, and I will take him at his word. However, I am then at a loss to explain his concern, as the figures do not seem to justify it.

The CSO figures up to April 2016 show yearly net migration of 3,100. That is .07pc of the total population. The figure should speak for itself, but let me state explicitly that .07pc of the population can only have an insignificant effect on public services.

If Mr Quinn is aware of this, then his concerns over immigration cannot spring from worry over the effect of new migrants on the provision of public services. I do not know what Mr Quinn's motivations are and I will not speculate. But, given these figures, is it any wonder that people are suspicious of the motives of some journalists and commentators?

Peter Reidy

New Ross, Co Wexford

 

Unbiased journalism is essential

The likes of the 'New York Times', 'LA Times', CNN, and the BBC can have no complaints over President Donald Trump's restrictions on their access to the White House.

Only a die-hard, liberal fundamentalist could dispute the fact that these outlets have long acted as mere echo chambers for the Democratic Party. During the Obama regime, he hardly needed a press staff at all. These organisations largely quoted his verbose pronouncements uncritically and devoid of analysis.

A new low was reached during the more recent debates, when Hillary Clinton was allegedly fed some questions in advance. The fact that she didn't win the debates more comprehensively merely proves that the right candidate won.

Yet the 'New York Times' and co totally downplayed this scandal and continued to support Mrs Clinton.

Mr Trump is actually doing the profession of journalism a favour when he states that he doesn't mind criticism provided it's factually based.

Open, unbiased journalism is essential to a proper functioning society. When certain, supposedly prestigious, journals act as cheerleaders for one side, they merely debase the profession.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath

 

Unfair deal for rural dwellers

Would it be fair if property taxes only applied to those living in rural areas?

Would it be fair if motor tax only applied to those living in rural areas, while city and town dwellers had their motor tax paid from general taxation?

If you answer no to the above questions, then why is it deemed fair by many that the 20pc of the population who are rural dwellers, pay for their private wells and group schemes, and pay for the maintenance of their sewerage systems, should also pay for these facilities to be provided to city and town dwellers through general taxation?

If 65pc of Irish Water customers were paying for water and 20pc in rural areas were already paying, why scrap water charges when 85pc of people were paying?

Why scrap water charges when it will result in fines from the EU?

Frank Power

Co Laois

 

Pay households a 'meter rent'

No matter how many straws Simon Coveney may clutch at, we all know that the hated water charges have well and truly reached their well-deserved demise.

Since meters were forced upon us, I think it would be more than reasonable for households in which a meter is present to receive an annual rent for allowing Irish Water's unwanted equipment to remain on their property.

This could be applied as a credit on property tax bills.

David Bradley,

Drogheda, Co Louth

 

Scrooge of the Year contest

I refer to Simon O Connor's point (Letters, March 3) that Simon Coveney is going against the will of the people by insisting on water charges and the Irish Independent reporting that he may cave in to pressure from Fianna Fáil.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is awarding the princely sum of €5 to our senior citizens, which is derisory.

Neither is in touch with the will of the people.

Both would provide Charles Dickens with plenty of writing material if he were alive today.

Is there a Scrooge of the Year contest looming?

Aine Holt

Caislean Cnucha, Baile Atha Cliath 15

 

Irony of Central Bank's HQ

Is it not ironic that the Central Bank has moved to a new premises that was originally to be the HQ of the toxic Anglo-Irish Bank?

May we now also see those ex- Anglo-Irish bankers being appointed as directors of the Central Bank?

After all, it was the Central Bank that failed to spot its various 'peccadillos', which subsequently cost Irish taxpayers 64 thousand million euro.

Mike Mahon,

Templeogue, Dublin 6W

Irish Independent