Let’s review property rights - Speculation is driving decay

Let’s review property rights - Speculation is driving decay

The housing crisis could be resolved easily enough but doing that requires a change in philosophy and a reordering of priorities.

One fundamental change needed, as we have argued many, many times, is a rebalancing of our Constitution’s absolute protection of property rights with the common good.

Local authorities need to be able to use, in extreme circumstances, compulsory purchase orders to free land for housing.

They should do so by paying farm values plus a generous premium to make the process viable but our Constitution may need an amendment to make that a practical option.

An interim Government report has found another reason to make CPOs a more powerful agent for change.

The Department of Rural Affairs has found that a significant factor in the decline of villages and towns is that some property owners do not develop sites but refuse to sell them in the hope they might become more valuable.

Once again, an individual’s property rights trump the common good and communities can only look on as speculation-driven decay hollows out communities.

Yet, we look on as town after town becomes a boarded-up ghost of what it once was.

It is surely not beyond our wit to crack this nut in an equitable, society enriching way.

That the prospect of such reform is still so remote shows where our Government’s priorities, and loyalties, lie.

Change will not come easily but, as history assures us, it will come one way or another.

More on this topic

Varadkar rules out bedroom tax as ‘terrible idea’Varadkar rules out bedroom tax as ‘terrible idea’

House prices climb but increases slowing downHouse prices climb but increases slowing down

Homeowners reject 'bedroom tax' suggestionHomeowners reject 'bedroom tax' suggestion

'Lazy assumption' that Govt is 'ideologically opposed to social and affordable housing' - Murphy'Lazy assumption' that Govt is 'ideologically opposed to social and affordable housing' - Murphy

More in this Section

'If you want to feel good — okay smug — about yourself, buy or sell stuff secondhand''If you want to feel good — okay smug — about yourself, buy or sell stuff secondhand'

Being fat is hard, so I amputated my stomachBeing fat is hard, so I amputated my stomach

No denying there is a new era of hatredNo denying there is a new era of hatred

Ending racism must be a priority but it must always be seen in its proper context Ending racism must be a priority but it must always be seen in its proper context


Lifestyle

NAYA, a female wolf, arrived in Belgium in January last year.Naya’s ‘death’ leaves August a lone wolf

Adrian went to Scoil Oilibheir, Dublin Hill, for primary school and then on to St Finbarr’s College, Farranferris, for secondary school.School Daze with Adrian Russell: I was a good sport in class

Colm Murphy, of a renowned Cork arts family, used to travel the world as bodhrán player with Dé Dannan, but these days he’s happiest fishing and observing bird life, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Art of Affection: Colm Murphy on his love of painting

Antonia Smyth is wedding co-ordinator at the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore.You've Been Served: Antonia Smyth, Bridge House Hotel

More From The Irish Examiner