Irish Examiner view:  Dysfunctional housing crisis is our Waterloo 

Corporate interests always put before community
Irish Examiner view:  Dysfunctional housing crisis is our Waterloo 

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien speaking to media outside Dublin Castle where he welcomed Cabinet approval for the publication of the Affordable Housing Bill 2021. Picture: Eamonn Farrell /

When a history of moderate, centrist politics is written, if a publisher has not commissioned such an obituary already, there will be successes to record.

But, just as Napoleon’s biographers discovered, Waterloo cannot be glossed over. 

The Waterloo issue is easily defined but not so easily resolved, as none of the 10 housing ministers this century were philosophically disposed to remaking a dysfunctional system.

The crisis is defined by one administration after another clinging to a sinking ship, hoping against hope for a different outcome despite unchanging policies. Micawberism as social policy.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien admitted that less than half of the 30,000 houses needed will be delivered this year because of Covid-19.

That a global investment company that bought most of an estate in Maynooth is involved in buying a 112-house development in Dublin for rental sharpens the whiff around housing policies.

That 90% of Dublin apartments sold go for rental adds to that stink.

When an obituarist comes to write that history, their epilogue will be simple enough.

They will record the justified anger that drove the sons and daughters of older supporters of centrist parties to reject them because they made home-ownership impossible, because they put corporate interests before community.

Had Napoleon been so stupid and so blind to the obvious, his Waterloo would have come many decades earlier.

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