Workers and housing

 

Sir, – It was interesting to read about the concern of major current and future employers regarding the shortage of suitable housing for their workers (“Stripe and Amazon meet Ministers over housing policy”, News, May 26th).

It’s true there is nothing new under the sun. At the time of the Industrial Revolution and afterwards in Ireland and in Britain, those planning mills, breweries, and so on, realised that housing would be needed for the thousands of workers who would be required to operate their new businesses.

Their response in many cases was to build this housing themselves.

In Co Down is the historic village of Bessbrook, built on a well-planned basis by the owner of a large linen mill. In Britain, we find Bournville, built to house Cadbury employees. We had Port Sunlight for workers of Lever Brothers. In Dublin housing was provided for workers by Guinness. The Dublin United Tramway Company built cottages in the vicinity of its tram depots. Railway companies provided houses in Dublin and in other parts of the country.The military provided “married quarters”. Hospitals built “nurses’ homes”.

There are doubtless many other instances of employers building for their workers.

Many of those coming into Ireland to set up major operations have, by all account, substantial reserves. Perhaps the Government should consider the setting up of a housing investment fund, funded by these international corporations. This could take the form of a number of these organisations forming a development company with shares owned by those putting up the money. This company would then procure suitable sites, engage developers to build apartments and then manage the rental of these apartments. – Yours, etc,

SEAN FOX,

Glasnevin,

Dublin 11.