Politics, protest and the housing crisis

 

Sir, – Una Mullally may well be right when she forecasts housing protests post-Covid (“Huge housing protests will follow end of pandemic”, Opinion & Analysis, May 17th). It finally is beginning to dawn on us that what we are witnessing is not a case of politicians failing to understand that problems cannot be solved by the thinking that created them, but rather a dogged determination on their part to defend the interests of a tiny section of our society at the expense of the many. One would hope that such protests will not be needed to coax this jaded political class to go quickly and finally do the State some service. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.

Sir, – Una Mullally shows herself to be an expert in pointing out the failings of our Government while offering virtually no tangible solutions to anything. While predicting mass protests due to housing shortages, she also points to previous activist actions in occupying Apollo House and 38 Summerhill Parade as some sort of catalysts for future success.

Your columnist writes of “the inevitable left-wing coalition government”. Inevitable? There is no clear sign that this type of coalition will happen in the short term, and if it does it will be so diverse that it probably won’t last long.

The housing issue is never as simple as she and left-wing politicians make out.In opposition such politicians say they have lots of solutions to the problem. They even talk of the State entering into a mass house-building programme. The State hasn’t really built houses for decades. When pushed on where the State will find builders, their answers are pitiful, as most builders are employed in the private sector and there is virtually no one left to hire.

She refers to the repeal of the eighth amendment and marriage equality movements as a sign of how the future will work with housing. Neither of these movements had a real economic context or consequence. They were life and people issues. Housing is different. Obviously I expect that Una Mullally and others will disagree. They will demand housing as a constitutional right. However, that can’t happen, as if it did everyone would declare themselves homeless and demand a house. It would cost billions.

Una Mullally is anticipating a new housing movement, but doesn’t state what it will aim to achieve. But she covers her lack of detail, policies, cost implications, etc, with her final statement: “Its ‘success’ will be in the process that unfolds”. I can’t wait. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN CULLEN,

Dublin 16.