David McWilliams: Irish people like houses because they have made people rich

Housing has created a division between property-owning ‘insiders’ and locked-out ‘outsiders’

The net result of this wealth effect is that Irish people are conflicted about house prices based on whether we are owners or not.

The net result of this wealth effect is that Irish people are conflicted about house prices based on whether we are owners or not.

To understand the grip that property ownership has on Irish people, it is reasonable to start with history, group psychology and sociology. The chapter on the concept of home in President Michael D Higgins' book Recapturing the European Street is an excellent place to start.

With great erudition and learning, the President traces our relationship with the notion of home, the legacy of national dispossession, the emergence of the Land League and the centrality of land ownership to the Irish national project. The chapter glides effortlessly through different European philosophical ideas of home, particularly both the German and French strains, before landing back here, in our Irish home.

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