Despite our housing crisis, politicians seem all too ready to object to developments. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and former tánaiste Joan Burton’s objections to a four-storey development in Castleknock were unsuccessful. Some time ago Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin lodged an objection over plans for accommodation for 350 students in his constituency. Last week Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath voiced his opposition to the “residential mix” of 377 apartments and eight houses proposed for Marino, in Dublin.
This cage-rattling might have credibility beyond the selfserving if these politicians, and there are many more, advocated as stridently on other environmental issues. However, they, more often than not, act on foot of representations from NIMBY constituents. Despite that, they should find the courage to say “no” more often. Leadership can be bruising.
An Bord Pleanála has refused planning permission for over 300 homes in East Cork. This was an independent ruling and shows that we have a long way to go before we accept the cultural changes needed to resolve the housing crisis.