Fintan O’Toole: Snobbery is at the root of the housing crisis

Millions of us grew up in local authority houses. We are no worse than anyone else

Crumlin housing project. File photograph: Tony Linck/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Crumlin housing project. File photograph: Tony Linck/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Of all the problems that have gone into the creation of the housing crisis, the easiest to remove is also the most tenacious. It is a problem, not of money or land or building capacity, but of attitude. It is the problem of snobbery, a deep prejudice against social housing and the people who live in it.

At the end of last month, while being questioned in the Dáil about his government’s unwillingness to build local authority housing estates, the Taoiseach rounded on those he disdained as socialists: “They want to divide our society into people who live in different areas – some people who pay for everything and qualify for nothing and other people, eh, who-who-who-who, em, who-who, eh, peop . . .who . . .”

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