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IT Sunday: Another week when housing crisis dominated headlines

What will the impact of ECB interest rates rise have on Irish economy?

Hello and welcome to this week’s IT Sunday, a selection of the best Irish Times journalism curated for our subscribers.

It was a week that saw the housing crisis, both the cost of buying one and the task of finding homes in communities for newly arriving migrants in the State, dominate.

Thursday saw the European Central Bank (ECB) raise its interest rates for the fifth time in a row. For Cliff Taylor the big question on foot of this move was how much will they damage the economy?

For homeowners, especially those on trackers, feeling the pinch from these hikes, Fiona Reddan urged them to think long and hard before surrendering their tracker mortgage rates. While for a reader wondering what would happen if tenants refused to pay their rents, Dominic Coyle has a stern warning that they could risk being evicted and make their situations worse long term. With high rents and mortgages, for anyone thinking of leaving the country and remote working as they travel, Brianna Parkins advises that digital nomading can get expensive when it comes to managing your tax affairs.


Inextricably linked to Ireland’s housing crisis is finding accommodation for refugees from Ukraine and asylum seekers. Naomi O’Leary looked at how the issue of housing new Ukrainian migrants was tackled in other European countries also taking in people fleeing their war-torn towns and cities: “The Netherlands, like Ireland, has a housing shortage. Municipalities have housed Ukrainians in a monastery, a holiday camp, empty office buildings, and on boats - including a cruise ship and a gun boat dating from the Cold War that has been retrofitted to house 23 people.”

The arrival of many migrants has seen tensions rise in some areas in a week that Justine McCarthy says has been like “watching the lit taper of Irish xenophobia pick up speed in its burn towards cataclysm”.

“The Government needs to acknowledge its role in creating this tinderbox and, then, it needs to assuage the fears and resentments of those who are resisting the arrival of migrants in their midst,” writes McCarthy.

Elsewhere on the topic Una Mullally says the comforting theory that Irish people won’t coalesce around the far-right has disintegrated, while Diarmaid Ferriter writes that the racism that has always lurked within the Irish has been exposed.

David McWilliams, the grandson of immigrants, is also reacting to the tensions that rose this week. McWilliams looks at how those who leave their homes are often the best and the brightest. “As the grandson of immigrants, people who started a new life in Ireland with no family, network or connections, I find it rather odd to hear people talk about the ‘real Irish’ or the ‘true Irish’. Maybe I don’t qualify? Who knows? But now that everyone’s doing it, let’s talk about immigrants.”

Jennifer O’Connell this week visited Lismore, the west Waterford town that has been at the centre of protests over plans to turn its landmark hotel into a centre for asylum seekers. Here she sees the small town’s protests and counter-demonstrations at the move.

Meanwhile, it was all eyes on Cardiff yesterday as Andy Farrell’s Ireland side beat Wales 10-34 in their opening game of the Six Nations. A good start for Ireland, and that’s reflected in John O’Sullivan’s player ratings: there are some fives, but plenty of eights and two monumental nine-out-of-10 performances.

This week also saw the launch of our new weekly rugby news letter - The Counter Ruck - from rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley, which will issue each Friday. You can sign-up here.

Elsewhere the concerns of parents came to the fore in some of our most-read articles. Sheila Wayman spoke to a woman who had no idea her 12-year-old son was using a social media app against the rules. “He was completely traumatised. He told me he had been on Snapchat and people were threatening him and calling him a racist,” the mother tells Wayman. In a separate article, she explores how a parent can spot if their child is being bullied. Psychotherapist Trish Murphy this week heard from another worried parent who says she feels she has lost her lovely child during Covid. “I barely recognise our 17-year-old son any more, either physically or emotionally.”

In her column, Jen Hogan urges parents not to spend their Friday nights on the couch this year, but to go out more, albeit phone phones perched precariously on the table.

Finally this week, relationships expert Roe McDermott hears from a woman who recently found out her fiancee had cheated on all his exes. “He admits he shouldn’t have cheated and when I asked how I could trust him not to cheat on me, he said he has never and would never cheat on me because I’m ‘The One’, which is why he proposed,” the reader says.

As always, there is much more to enjoy on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants or recipe suggestions in our food section and all the latest in our extensive sport coverage. Also, based on reader requests around expanded personal finance coverage, we have now started a weekly digest, On The Money, dealing with consumer matters. You can sign-up here. There are lots more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.

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