Political consequences of housing crisis

Reaping the whirlwind

Sir, – Are the Greens missing a significant opportunity ? If Eamon Ryan were to call on all his party members to follow the example of Neasa Hourigan, and vote for Sinn Féin’s motion about evictions, then the Coalition would quite possibly implode, and in the consequent general election, the Greens would stand a much better chance of retaining their seats than if they wait for the Coalition to eventually go to the country.

A resulting fresh coalition of Sinn Féin, Labour, Social Democrats and sundry People Before Profit and rural Independents would surely find themselves with a working majority, and genuine public support. – Yours, etc,


Strawberry Beds,


Dublin 20.

Sir, – The carefully argued article by Sally Rooney in favour of extending the moratorium on evictions “while we are in a housing emergency” makes much sense (Weekend Review, March 18th).

In particular, her point that a rental property which is sold by a landlord is bought either by an owner-occupier, or by another landlord seeking to make it available to would-be renters, with no net loss to the number of housing units available, seems difficult to refute.

It is hard not to agree with her conclusion that the Cabinet decision to end the moratorium is driven more by a concern to avoid alienating potential voters for the Government parties, than by the stated fear of reducing available housing, and exacerbating the crisis. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.

Sir, – Kathy Sheridan (“Truth the first casualty in a housing crisis”, Opinion & Analysis, March 15th) and Sally Rooney have done us a service by exposing the confused thinking that seems to pervade government housing policy.

Its latest manifestation is the inexplicable decision to end the no-fault eviction ban that will lead to thousands more homeless in our State when homeless numbers are already unconscionable and when the mitigations to support evicted renters are not yet ready.

Quite apart from the increase in human misery, a perfect opportunity will be afforded to some to capitalise on yet another spike in homelessness.

As an alternative to lifting the eviction ban, the Government could surely think of a way to compensate landlords for this temporary infringement of their property rights, and many suggestions have been made about altering landlord tax treatment, but these have so far been ignored.

This is an emergency, just like the Covid pandemic, and it is highly complex.

It is clear that increased supply will help, but only in the medium to long term.

An emergency requires management of short-term impacts.

We need a housing programme that integrates short-, medium- and long-term planning and implementation across government departments, local authorities, housing bodies and other housing stakeholders.

Housing market key performance indicators and crisis management progress need to be monitored and broadcast to the nation on a regular basis. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – Sally Rooney has bravely spoken out with a heartfelt plea to the Government to retain the moratorium on evictions.

The Government needs to take notice: older as well as younger voters are not going to stand for this any longer.

Housing is a human right. Housing is for families – not for making money. This Government’s housing strategy is a shame on our nation. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – If local authorities don’t want to dirty their hands in mixing cement and sand in the direct construction of social housing, why can’t the Government initiate the establishment of a State-run construction company to bring social housing on stream as a matter of urgency?

No doubt, both within Government and without, ideological and economic objections will emerge to stifle such a development. But where there’s a will there’s always a way. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.