White-water rafting plan for Dublin


Sir, – The proposal that Dublin City Council build a white-water training centre at George’s Quay smacks of a vanity project or status good – something that looks good and distracts from the council’s – and the State’s – failure to provide for the basic needs of citizens, most notably housing. This is the State cherry-picking “sexy” projects that impress visiting foreign dignitaries and some citizens while it fails miserably to tackle mundane, day-to-day needs.

The vast overspend on the national children’s hospital falls into the same category: the new building becomes a welcome distraction from patients waiting 12 hours on the floor of A&E only yards away, and worse. There are other examples.

The neoliberal ideology that precludes State involvement in sectors properly considered the preserve of the market – health, housing, for instance – means it has to find alternative ways to shore up its legitimacy, in this case quite literally.

The end result is a State that looks self-indulgent, self-satisfied and smug: a white-water training centre in one part of Dublin, while people are boiling water for drinking in other parts; and they wonder why voter turnouts are low. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.