Who is the Land Development Agency for?

 

Sir, – One has to wonder what exactly is the remit of the Land Development Agency (LDA)?

Is its primary function to ensure that citizens have access to affordable and secure housing, or that housing remains a commodity firmly in the grip of the “market”?

Your report on the plans for public lands at Shanganagh, near Shankill in Co Dublin, tells us all we want to know. Of the 600 units planned, only 200 will be social/public housing (“Hundreds of affordable rental homes for south Dublin”, News, March 27th).

The bulk of the rest it seems will come under a so-called affordable rent scheme with rents set at €1,350 a month.

What we are not told is who will oversee these units. Will it be a private company applying market principles? And what happens should a tenant lose his or her job or fall ill?

Will that tenant be protected by the Rent Differential Scheme that would see the rent lowered in line with the drop in income?

Or will the solution to that problem be the market one, eviction?

Such housing may be affordable, but with rents of near €340 a week – which is more than the minimum wage – it is obvious that they will only be accessible to a small portion of those in need of housing.

It seems that the Government simply cannot come to terms with the reality that at the heart of the homeless crisis is the flawed “market” model of house provision and the LDA is nothing more than a child of that failure.

It is clear that it will address the current crisis by employing the ideology that both created and sustains the problem.

Perhaps someone will ensure that all those involved in the Shanganagh development will get a copy of the UN’s latest report on housing. Ireland, the report tells us, is one of six countries that are “failing to regulate corporate landlords and protect tenants’ human right to secure housing”. Note the word “secure”. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.