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IT Sunday: Does Dublin Port offer a solution to Dublin’s housing crisis?

‘Purely performative politics’ needs to be set aside in favour of ‘actually getting things done’

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

As the controversial eviction ban ends this weekend, with tenants subject to an eviction notice in the coming weeks facing an acute lack of options, David McWilliams suggests that the solution to housing shortages in Dublin could lie in the city’s port.

In his column McWilliams says while the port is operationally fine, it is simply in the wrong place and does not need to be in the centre of the city. Rather than redevelop it on its current location, as planned, far better to relocate it, he suggests.

“The potential residential land on Dublin Port is 173 times bigger than the size of Croke Park. Or think about it as Ranelagh, Rathmines, Rathgar and Harold’s Cross, combined”.


Staying within the realm of planning, Cliff Taylor suggests that while it is one thing to have a plan to resolve an issue, executing it efficiently, is another.

In that regard, Taylor highlights the “purely performative politics” of a suggestion from , Fine Gael Senator that energy companies to cut prices for households. All headline, no detail. “Next week, they might have one asking if people want lower taxes, or are in favour of Santa Claus,” he suggests.

Instead, Taylor argues, Irish political debate should be about who can do best in the messy and complex world of “actually getting things done”.

“Just as Ireland got caught by a failure to anticipate the scale of housing need arising from economic and population growth after 2015, we also clearly do not have the capacity in much of the State machine – the civil and wider public service – to deliver on the scale required. This has created a credibility gap in Irish politics, a lack of trust in what can actually be delivered.”

Last week saw the historic indictment of Donald Trump, following an investigation into hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. The first former US president to face criminal charges is expected to surrender to authorities in New York City in the early part of next week and be brought before a judge.

Fintan O’Toole says in trying to unravel the story of the most famous hush money payment in history it is important to look at who benefitted?

And, it turns out, the ultimate beneficiary was a horse, specifically a horse owned by Daniels, who used her share of the $130,000 payment to buy the steed a new horsebox.

“Presumably the gallant Irish steed now has a lucrative book deal: Donald Trump: My Part in His Downfall. It would make as much sense as anything else in this ludicrous story.”

In her column this weekend Jennifer O’Connell notes that after four years of criticism, online fury, abuse, threats of violence, and even book burnings, JK Rowling’s faith in her own position on trans rights is undimmed.

“What distinguishes her from other victims of online witch-hunts is that Rowling waded into this intentionally . . . she made a calculated decision to enter the fray, even calling her management team to warn them in advance of that first tweet.” This, according to O’Connell., begs the question of whether you can really be the victim of a witch-hunt.

“Listening to Rowing explain her position offers an insight into the way that the online world has eroded our ability to tease out complex issues, to explore nuance and to disagree.”

On a big weekend for sport, full coverage of the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup is available here. On Saturday Leinster duly powered on to an 18th Champions Cup quarter-final by beating Ulster for a third time in this competition and will face Leicester Tigers back here at the Aviva Stadium, almost certainly in six days’ time on Good Friday. However Leinster will restrict the capacity for the quarter-final against Leicester Tigers to 27,000 by dint of keeping the Aviva Stadium’s upper tiers closed, unless demand exceeds that target. Leinster have just five working days to sell tickets in the build-up to Easter, writes Gerry Thornley.

In soccer, Kevin Kilbane looks back on Ireland’s narrow defeat to France, and says this Irish team is fast becoming one people can believe in.

“Heroic performances must, eventually, be transformed into wins – the cold, hard currency of international football. Otherwise, Stephen Kenny will go the way of Eoin Hand and Brian Kerr before him. I know, I was there when our Ireland team in the mid-2000s badly underachieved under Kerr.”

From Sport to relationships: this week Roe McDermott deals with a question from a a happily married woman who struggles with fantasies involving her exes.

“Sex with my exes seemed more fulfilling and exotic, almost primal . . . there are times when I would like to act on these feelings. But, I don’t. But I feel racked with guilt and like I’m betraying my husband by having these thoughts.” You can read McDermott’s reply here.

In the latest in her series of articles looking at the freedoms we should or should not allow for our children, Jen Hogan examines the ages at which children should be allowed to babysit younger siblings. You can read her response here.

Finally, Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary reports on the latest jobs losses from Ireland’s technology sector, this time from Shopify.

She notes that even after the tech company said no more workers would be laid off after 10 per cent of staff worldwide were let go last summer, people continued to be let go in Ireland in batches throughout autumn and winter as they were told their roles had been scrapped.

“Clusters of long-time staffers were let go in October, December, and February, according to eleven statuses posted on LinkedIn by workers who wrote they had been abruptly made redundant by Shopify and were now looking for new roles, which have been confirmed by The Irish Times. Several stated that their whole teams had been axed.”

As one former employee told O’Leary: “It’s like: two staff are gone this week. Three staff are gone next week. Five staff are gone the week after... it’s a continuous drip feed of people being let go”.

As always, there is much more on, including rundowns of all the latest movies in our film reviews, tips for the best restaurants in our food section and all the latest in sport. There are plenty more articles exclusively available for Irish Times subscribers here.