At the official opening in mid-June of a new facility for young homeless people near Naas in Co Kildare Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, spoke out on the dire situation of housing and homelessness in the State.
He condemned the housing crisis as “our great, great, great failure,” saying that it could no longer be considered a crisis but “a disaster”.
President Higgins also strongly condemned the speculative nature of investment in housing, questioning the nature of the Republic which has been created 100 years on since the foundation of the State. The President asked “How republican is what we created? And isn’t it sometimes very much closer to the poor law system that we thought we were departing from. That is a real challenge.” He said there had been a sharp increase in homelessness among young people and that the outlook was “getting darker”. He also spoke about the lack of improvement for the Travelling community.
President Higgins said that housing and the basic needs of society should never have been left to the marketplace. “It is the mad speculative money that is destroying our country, which we are welcoming, which we shouldn’t be,”. He said there were “so many derelict buildings, so many abandoned buildings” and “half-empty villages”, questioning why more could not be refurbished into homes. He appealed directly to local authority managers questioning why they weren’t doing more and taking on refurbishment projects in their counties.
The outspokenness of the President was once again questioned by constitutional law experts, pundits, and politicians. Some of those latter who are in power even claiming, through a spokesperson, that they were ‘very aware of the many challenges which exist in housing! Meanwhile however no improvement or change to the system is forthcoming.
Image: Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland (Courtesy Wikipedia)
Posted by Cathal Ó Luain, Celtic League Convenor (29th June 2022)