Watching the return of the Dáil this week, a visitor from Mars might conclude that the government’s long-term plan to deal with the housing crisis is … free prevention.
That was the big announcement on the occasion of the return of our national parliament when the country is plagued by: A) the cost of living and B) finding housing at all (see A).
But the scale of the housing and livelihood crisis – of which our Ukrainian admission is the most obvious and tragic example – seems to be something many politicians would rather avert their eyes from.
Forget all that, they seem to be saying, here are some fantastic free contraceptives… and if you use them right, we might eventually see some relief from our national overcrowding (haven’t you gone yet?).
Strange, isn’t it? The French point to Ireland’s apparent and appalling emergency in providing basic shelter to our residents
In truth, it was a throwback to an idea from five years ago at hearings in the fall of 2017 ahead of the repeal referendum the following May.
Another prop, if you will, to keep young people from getting into trouble, as the old euphemism put it. But they are in much more urgent trouble today.
It’s a progressive measure, of course, but trumpeting it as an example of government in action on its first day on the job seemed – to mix metaphors musically – a case of fumbling while Rome burns.
It amazingly ignores the fact that nationwide homelessness has surpassed 10,000 people for the first time in two and a half years, according to official figures released late last month.
And now at a new record level.
The charity Focus Ireland clearly states the total number – 10,568 – on its website, exceeding a ceiling previously considered politically unsustainable.
However, official government reports have been obscuring this total, and have been since March 2018. They first provide detailed figures for adults with a geographic breakdown, and then bury the number of additional homeless children below.
The adults count is 7,431 and the children 3,137, but you would have to compile the total yourself, as Focus Ireland did, as the total simply isn’t offered in official publications.
In addition, the charity notes that “an unspecified number of families who are homeless and housed in ‘own door’, ie self-contained accommodation, are not included in these figures.” The actual total is higher.
Except for record rents, housing shortages, rent and mortgage arrears, evictions and foreclosures, and rising interest rates for the lucky ones with mortgages.
Meanwhile, in a very different French letter, the French embassy officially warns any of its citizens intending to come here that Ireland is experiencing a “severe housing crisis”.
This has led to a sharp increase in rents, “which are currently significantly more expensive than in Paris,” according to their website.
Strange, isn’t it? The French point to Ireland’s apparent and appalling emergency in providing basic shelter to our residents.
But Irish politicians instead gesture with a scandalous nod and wink in the distracting direction of oh la la.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/a-plague-on-all-our-housing-but-free-contraception-government-has-no-prophylactic-response-for-that-crisis-41994590.html A plague on all our homes – but “free prevention” The government has no prophylactic response to this crisis