‘Dublin could be heaven’


Sir, – In Frank McDonald’s survey of the post-pandemic prospects for the capital, he describes Airbnb lets as a “plague” which must be cracked down upon to restore city living (“Dublin could be heaven: Frank McDonald reimagines the capital”, May 23rd).

This disdain towards short-term letting of central Dublin property is understandable given the acute exigencies of the housing crisis.

Yet a liberal estimate, which includes private rooms, of the total number of Airbnb listings in Dublin is approximately 9,400. The Central Bank estimates that Ireland will need 34,000 new homes built each year over the next decade merely to satisfy the demand of a growing population living in smaller household sizes. Of this, approximately 9,500 new homes will be needed on an annual basis in Dublin, assuming its current share of the Irish population remains constant.

A blanket ban on Airbnb in Dublin would thus do little to alleviate the pressures on Dublin’s housing market in the long run, and would effectively pull up the drawbridge to tourists who could help revitalise the retail and hospitality outlets whose current crises Frank McDonald rightly laments. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – A very interesting article by Frank McDonald but sometimes he throws a “fact” into the mix that doesn’t quite stack up. After he wandered around his inner-city neighbourhood photographing buildings with no lights on, he came to the “inescapable conclusion that the majority had been turned over to tourism in recent years”.

Empty apartment buildings in Dublin city centre during a pandemic? I’m shocked that he was shocked.

No mention of the thousands of students and civil servants who love to live in Dublin, most of whom are now residing back outside the Pale on a temporary basis. They bring much-needed income to small retail outlets, pubs and supermarkets.

When we travel to other wonderful European cities, we also wish to stay in the city centre. Balance is the answer. Almost always. – Yours, etc,