Housing crisis needs immediate attention
LIMPING along with no concrete proposals to address the housing crisis is what this Government appears to be doing. Surely by now the message of the crisis has to be hitting home. It’s so bad it is clearly threatening the recovery of the economy, though we are led to believe that we are in the midst of a boom already.
And on the latter, we are far from that. The so-called recovery is based on a capital that is doing well but look anywhere and you will see poverty, people struggling on minimum wage jobs or pay scales set just above it.
Apart from the obvious indicators around Sligo of people struggling to survive (North West Simon helping 22 families and 53 children in the first six months of this year alone), there are also the small things I’ve witnessed more and more on a daily basis - adults ordering kids meals in restaurants because they don’t have enough money, people looking in litter bins.
A just society is not being created in the wake of the austerity years and indeed, people are now paying more taxes and have less disposable income than before the crash.
Interesting points too from the Local Economic Indicators 2018 report from IBEC which states that continued shortages of affordable housing in Ireland threatens to undermine the achievement of many economic policy goals – including the attraction of overseas investment into Ireland, the promotion of third-level education, the reduction of emissions and the improvement of household incomes and wellbeing.
It warns: “the impact of this shortage of new building activity is now clearly a crisis that is making its impact felt, as the economy grows strongly.”
And, in the absence of a properly co-ordinated Government housing programme we are already seeing forms of protest that are difficult to justify as they border on PR stunts and do little to advance any cause.
Entering and occupying properties which are privately owned is not the way forward.
There can be many reasons why houses remain vacant such as outstanding debt, family disputes, court orders or death.
Entering onto private property is trespassing and it cannot be dressed up in any other way.
As long as a property is not derelict, falling into disrepair and isn’t posing a threat to safety then the owners have a right to keep it as they wish.
Vacant council or State owned property on the other hand should be subjected to immediate orders by an outside agency with powers to offer it to a family in need.
The house at Old Market Street which was occupied last week.