‘Time to learn from the Dutch’

Sir, – I was heartened by Michael O'Loughlin's account of the incredible resolve of the Dutch people who, faced with a need for "an extra million homes in the near future" simply wrought new land from the sea ("A new urban quarter on Bull Island? Time to learn from the Dutch", Opinion & Analysis, June 12th). His analogous proposal for Dublin in the form of "a new urban quarter, including high-rise apartments, on the Bull Island", however, is not quite ambitious enough.

Surely the perennial lack of housing in our fair city has already pushed the commuter counties westward for long and far enough. A literal change of direction is required. Emulating our allies in the Netherlands, we should eke out new land, polders from Dublin Bay to be covered in densely populated but vibrant new communities. Bull Island need only be one of many such thriving new neighbourhoods.

I look forward to visiting the aptly named suburbs of New Dolphin’s Barn, New Marino, and Sandcastleknock in due course. – Yours, etc,




Oxford, UK.

Sir, – Michael O’Loughlin is right to say that we can learn something from the Dutch when it comes to housing. I think we can learn a lot more from our European neighbours. As it currently stands, public policy is too heavily influenced by the British way of doing things. It sometimes seems as if the guiding principle in our Civil Service is to do as the British civil service in Whitehall does. Indeed, some public agencies, such as the National Transport Authority, have admitted to doing so. Much is said of the negative effect Brexit will have on this country, but one can hope that a potential positive effect is that we might look to the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark for public policy inspiration, rather than continue to photocopy policy emanating from across the Irish Sea. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.