Hous­ing cri­sis needs im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion

The Sligo Champion - - OPINION - With PAUL DEER­ING

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.