THE great protection we afford property is seen at its sharpest in our shameful housing crisis.
Would rents have increased by 12% in the year to June if the pressing need for housing did not play second fiddle to the constitutional rights afforded to speculators who buy and hoard building land?
Would almost 7,000 people be homeless if we saw housing as a social need rather than a way to generate profits?
Would students trying to get accommodation near a college have to risk beggaring their parents to rent a bedsit?
Those same issues are in play, if in a different way, in yesterday’s ruling that rejected objections to a €280m power line linking the Republic and the North.
The court had been asked to overturn An Bord Pleanála’s decision to allow State-owned Eirgrid to build 300 pylons between Meath and Monaghan.
This is a vital piece of infrastructure, though the consequences of Brexit, as yet unknown, may undermine its viability.
The idea of an interconnector is not opposed but the idea that it should be built on land rather than underground is.
The usual arguments around cost are advanced as if the cost to the developers was far more important than the cost imposed on communities expected to host the megastructure.
This ruling, which may be appealed, suggests property rights apply in different ways to different sections of society.
It may be sound in law but as an expression of social policy and a strengthening of social cohesion it is a backward step.
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