Letters to the Editor: Capitalism on steroids as we compete for homes in our own towns

Call for an end to tax reliefs for institutional investors
Letters to the Editor: Capitalism on steroids as we compete for homes in our own towns

I am from Maynooth, but do not see my future here unfortunately. A town in a faultless location for commuters with one of the biggest universities in the country, it is easy to see why so many people are drawn to the place. 

For established locals however, it means more competition for housing in the town they grew up in. 

With the recent announcement of Round Hill Capital and its partner SFO Capital’s latest purchase of a huge bulk of property in Maynooth, their delight in adding to an extensive portfolio means overwhelming feelings of angst, frustration, and irritation among locals in Maynooth and those looking to buy their first home in this bustling town.

I would like to own a house in Maynooth one day. What I would despise is renting from an international real estate investment company. This nightmare will become a stark reality for young people like me in the future and not just in Maynooth but throughout the country if measures are not put in place to stop what I feel is akin to capitalism on steroids. 

Money talks, money will always talk. I understand the argument that apartments in urban city centre areas would not have been constructed, were it not for large property investment firms. 

But please, leave suburban developments to normal people. 

Please keep reporting on this issue so real change can actually happen. For example, putting an end to the cushy tax reliefs that allow institutional investors to outbid normal folks on new housing developments.

Patrick Hever


Co Kildare

Wishy washy on drink pricing

The alcohol pricing debate reminds me of when I was a teenager, over 18 of course, a doctor asked me if I drank alcohol. I told him I drank a certain brand of beer.

He said: “That’s not alcohol, it’s only for washing down cars.”

John Williams


Dublin-LA twin, now that’s rich

Could we propose to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, and Dublin Civic Offices or both Houses of the Oireachtas to pass a resolution or bill in the Dáil in order to twin Dublin City with Los Angeles. 

Both seem to have a lot in common. The rich only get richer and are the only people who can afford a house, whilst most of the population are sleeping in camper vans, tents and eating from the sidewalks, even though they hold good jobs, but can’t afford the ‘affordable’ house...

After all, it is American private investment funds, aka vultures, that are at the forefront in grabbing our housing estates to the detriment and loss of its citizens, just like in Los Angeles.

Oh, and make sure there is a sod turning, tree-planting ceremony by US president Joe Biden just to put the stamp of approval on the deal... This would be symbolic of the two worlds we now live in. Looking forward to the event of our times.

Ian Hester


Co Roscommon

Houses of the Oireachtas is right

After the economic crash, we bailed out the subordinated bondholders and paid parties who purchased bonds on the secondary market at a discount in full. 

Now we are supporting and incentivising the corporate commercial activities of foreign financial adventurers in the residential housing market — during a homelessness crisis.

Irish housing policy has been clear enough for 30 years. Eat the young and prey on the poor. Emigration will take care of the upstarts. 

Leinster House is full of landlords and the laws they make show all the signs of it. The changes we saw at the last election ain’t nothing compared to the changes we will see at the next.

Michael Deasy


Co Donegal

The write way to air your point of view

Why do we write letters to newspapers I wonder? Is it simply to air an opinion, vent a grievance, make a complaint, offer a personal view, or grind a gripe? Doubtless all of these.

In olden times people, to relieve their exasperation, sought out solitary trees in the forest and, hugging them, whispered their sore frustration to the bark and branches. Trees made excellent confidants.

Well, nowadays we write to newspapers taking up paper which of course comes from… trees!

J Coughlan


Barnier, Brexit, bluster

According to the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in his new book  The Grand Illusion; the secret journal of Brexit 2016-2020 published yesterday, his British counterparts were adamant they were not going to be led and said by him.

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Thank goodness for this. Goodbye to the EU and all that is the real outcome for his Brussels bluster and balderdash.

His tome is one of the loser trying to write to a positive history of failure. Onward and upward, Boris, over there on the mainland. Continue to show us the path to real freedom.

Robert Sullivan


Co Cork

No democratic basis for border poll

Support for unionism (as in votes for either TUV or DUP or UUP or PUP or Independent unionists) is certainly now less than it was and also now only part of those who are pro-union, who include very many voting Alliance and some voting SDLP or Green or even SF. 

But since neither opinion polls, nor a majority of MLAs are pro-unity, there is simply no democratic basis for demanding a border poll (recent Kantor Poll showed only 35 % in NI for unity) while in the South only 22 % will pay more tax for unity — that is the crucial figure and not the empty sentimental 67% for unity in the South.

Consent must apply, not just to fully accepting the outcome of any future border poll, but to the holding of one — and that is simply not our decision in the South.

And is there even one real problem which we face down here in 2021 which requires unity? 

I can think of none — and what counts in opinion polls is what we rarely get — establishing serious priorities — not mere aspirations — and the top priority for many of us is above all health (where we still lack a decent modern health service up to, e.g., German or Dutch standards, and that is a total disgrace and a matter of shame for all parties — as well as the ongoing housing crisis). 

The Belfast Agreement gave us the structure of our agreed Ireland and our task now is to turn that bare constitutional structure into a shared island — with ongoing and mutually agreed practical North-South collaboration between the two jurisdictions, but not as a Trojan horse to achieve covert unity by stealth and in stages.

Tom Carew


Dublin 6

Driven to desperation over parking permit

I’m writing to you with reference to my recent experience dealing with the city council, as I think it illustrates just how difficult it is becoming for people to live in Cork City.

With spiralling rents and buildings of an extremely low standard, my usual propensity is to just make the best of it until I either get a job abroad and emigrate, or houses in Ireland become miraculously affordable for normal working people. This recent experience has however broken me a little bit.

I have recently applied to renew my parking permit for my apartment at Knapp’s Square for the fourth time but it has unfortunately been declined.

The reason given is that, per the terms and conditions set out in the parking by-laws (as accepted by the city councillors), complexes completed after March 2004 are not eligible for a resident’s parking permit.

I bought a car on the premise that I could get a parking permit. It was granted and has since been renewed twice. I have since renewed my insurance each year based on the premise that I had somewhere to park my car.

Due diligence was performed on my part where I have provided all the documents necessary each year for renewal.

Due diligence was obviously not performed by the city council if they have only decided to decline my renewal this year, as I provided the same address on each occasion.

I believe therefore that an exception should be made here, as due to the short notice I have only two choices, both of which will cause me great inconvenience and/or expense.

  • Cancel my insurance and sell my car as there are no alternative options for parking in the area and my permit expires on May 10;
  • Move apartment/house. We are looking at the moment but there isn’t much available. Additionally, we will not be able to find a place before the permit expires, so that’s a moot point.

If I could afford to live in a residence that came with a parking spot I would already be there. I have been residing in Cork/ this building for nearly nine years and think this is an appalling way to treat a local person who has been working, paying tax, buying local and living in Cork City. It’s hardly surprising that people don’t live in the city anymore and it’s become so rundown.

To add further perspective, an apartment with a parking spot in Cork City would cost us an extra €500 on top of our current rent.

I’ve sent a version of the above to my local TD, as I’m getting a little desperate at this point.

John Flood

Knapp’s Square Apartments


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