Pub­lic land used for pri­vate de­vel­op­ers

Irish Examiner - - Opinion -

Suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have in­stilled such cyn­i­cism in us that one could be for­given for be­liev­ing that the Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent lean­ing to­wards tax breaks for “mid­dle Ire­land” has been con­trived to fa­cil­i­tate the con­struc­tion in­dus­try and the sale of pri­vate hous­ing.

To un­der­stand the mind­set of suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments, look no fur­ther than the Pub­lic Land De­vel­op­ment Agency, which has de­clared a ra­tio of 10% so­cial hous­ing to 90% pri­vate, and this on ... wait for it, pub­lic land, which, in ef­fect, amounts to a sub­sidy for the de­vel­oper class. This just about sums up the ar­ro­gant mind­set of Fine gael and Fianna Fáil in their “re­newed coali­tion” to “gov­ern”.

As the lands are pub­lic lands, this ra­tio should be re­versed: 10% pri­vate to 90% so­cial hous­ing, and strictly ad­hered to by an in­de­pen­dent land de­vel­op­ment agency, un­til such time as the so­cial hous­ing cri­sis has been fixed. This would fo­cus the minds of de­vel­op­ers and guar­an­tee the build­ing of so­cial and af­ford­able houses in dou­ble-quick time. Leav­ing the cur­rent Land De­vel­op­ment Agency un­der the in­flu­ence of this coali­tion gov­ern­ment is ask­ing for more trou­ble. The re­newal of the con­fi­dence and sup­ply agree­ment by Fianna Fáil has to be seen as its tacit ac­cep­tance of the hous­ing cri­sis and the health cri­sis (we have one of the most ex­pen­sive health sys­tems in Europe, with nearly three quar­ters of a mil­lion cit­i­zens wait­ing long-term for health­care). This ar­ro­gance, by politi­cians who claim to be rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple, is ob­scene. The ex­cuse that their ‘coali­tion’ is needed to main­tain sta­bil­ity through Brexit, when they, like most of us, know that it is the Euro­pean Union that pulls all the strings, sim­ply demon­strates their des­per­a­tion to main­tain power at all cost.

Set­ting aside the hype that is the al­most-weekly state­ments of up­beat eco­nomic per­for­mances, which only ben­e­fit the up­per tier of this two-tier so­ci­ety, and re­flect­ing upon this rich, but debt-laden coun­try and the crises that af­flict the cit­i­zens in so many fun­da­men­tal ar­eas of life on this is­land, it is not dif­fi­cult to con­clude that the two par­ties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who have wielded so much power and in­flu­ence for the past twenty years, have left our beloved na­tion in an ab­so­lutely ap­palling state.

Joe Bren­nan Ballin­spit­tle Co. Cork

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