A dysfunctional housing market

 

Sir, – The Department of Housing, having consulted builders and developers, has prepared a report confirming that the dysfunctional housing market in this country cannot build suitable or adequate housing for couples on the average industrial wage who have a 10 per cent deposit (“Builders ‘can’t make viable profit’ on ¤320,000 apartments”, September 13th). With the result that further concessions have to be made to those same builders and developers in order to incentivise them to build such accommodation.

This capitulation, of course, comes as no surprise, given that the three main political parties cling resolutely to the rather bizarre notion that only market forces can solve problems that market forces create, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The idea that all the current Fine Gael Government can do to tackle a housing scandal that should shame any modern democracy is to take two steps backward and reintroduce bedsits and reduce green spaces for estates (in a thinly populated country like Ireland) is simply outrageous.

These feeble regressive measures graphically reflect the unpalatable fact that the three main political parties are more interested in protecting the profits and land-banks of developers than providing adequate public housing for those citizens who require it. The best the current Government would hope to do, it would appear, is provide sub-standard housing for those it seems to regard as “sub-standard people”.

But these policies also affect those who would not necessarily benefit themselves directly from public housing. Those struggling to get on the so-called “property ladder” are confronted with house-price inflation currently running at 12.3 per cent annually and 60 per cent nationally since 2013. And, of course, that whole concept of a “property ladder”, pressurising young people into taking on ridiculous amounts of debt, can never be questioned.

Perhaps the time has come for the Department of Housing to change its name to the Department for Ensuring No Public Housing Is Ever Built. – Yours, etc,

PAUL McGUIRK,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – I worked as a bricklayer from 1971 for almost a decade. I would walk to work from my family’s local authority rented home in Edenmore on Dublin’s northside. I worked on housing projects in Kilbarrack, Bonnybrook, Kilmore and Coolock. All these homes were let by Dublin Corporation to relativity low-income families for a fair rent. If successive governments had not been prepared to deliver housing in this fashion, Marino Ballyfermot, Crumlin, Drimnagh and Cabra would not exist today. Can we not learn from the successes of the past? – Yours, etc,

FERGUS WHELAN,

Cabra, Dublin 7.