A few weeks ago we learned that our population has reached 5.1 million. This, we were told, was the highest since the famine, when the 1851 census recorded 5.11 million.
Remarkable advances mean that, fortunately, our country is no longer recognizable from what it was. National and economic independence have been achieved. But despite the great leap forward, ownership issues and “congested neighborhoods” are a recurring theme.
Those in the Land League struggling for the “Three Fs” – fair rent, fixed rent and free sale – would be amazed that we could have let the roof collapse over our own heads.
The housing shortage and the associated hardship affect all age groups.
Recent figures from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) highlight the difficulties older people face in ever owning their own home. Every fifth person over the age of 45 now rents. You will have little hope of ever owning a place.
They will also face significantly tougher times than current retirees as they struggle to pay rising housing costs.
The government is making progress in providing housing, but no one claims to be able to provide the numbers needed to provide affordable housing.
The idea of having the key to your own front door is firmly entrenched in the national psyche. If this now exceeds the ambitions and incomes of so many, it is up to the government to ensure there are enough apartments available for rent within income limits.
The fate of a government is generally determined by how it deals with the most controversial issue of the time, so either the coalition defines the housing crisis or the crisis will define it.
A growing population is an extremely positive thing, but a lot depends on how we plan for the future and achieve the goals we set.
Housing and transport are vital to attracting vital investment and sustaining jobs.
There should be no limits to what we can achieve other than those we impose on ourselves, but achieving our goals is critical and there is cause for concern in that regard.
Poor management of large government projects means that they are all too often overdue and under budget. Plans for the long-delayed Dublin Metro have just been unveiled. A fast rail line to a major airport is a requirement for any dynamic modern city, but the cost looks shockingly vague.
An estimate of €9.5bn was the midpoint of a “believable” range of costs between €7.16bn and €12.25bn, but Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has revealed that there is an “extreme case” scenario for a rise to €23bn euros. No private company could ever accept such a divergence in costs.
Government spending is the taxpayer’s hard-earned income. Getting the best value is the best way to show they are valued. Leadership isn’t just about being in charge, it’s about caring for those who report to you. Having a place to live and being able to retire with a pension is fundamental to this.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/population-growth-shines-a-light-on-future-challenges-41816774.html Population growth sheds light on future challenges