Sir, – David McWilliams invites our leaders to control what is controllable ("Irish cost of living has little to do with Putin, and everything to do with land", Opinion & Analysis, March 19th). He points out that Ireland, the least densely-populated country in western Europe, has one of the highest prices for land for residential building. He writes that if we were serious about solving runaway housing costs, we would do everything possible to bring down land prices.
One of your front-page stories reports that a site of less than three acres in Dublin is thought to have sold for "€20 million-plus" based on recent transactions at €5 million to €7 million per acre ("Nuns sold Donnybrook convent in deal that put 'conservative' €20 million valuation on site", News, March 19th). The land would struggle to make €10,000 an acre if sold for grazing or as a vegetable plot.
The increase in value of this privately owned land can be realised only through two public acts – its rezoning for residential building and the granting of planning permission. And that premium is paid for by our young people who take out 30-year mortgages to line the pockets of the fortunate land owners.
It’s well past time for action. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I agree with David McWilliams’s cogent analysis. I suspect, however, that his article, if republished in 10 years, would be just as timely, such is the glacial progress on this issue. – Yours, etc,