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Struggling to keep a roof over our heads
“We judge society on how it treats its weakest members”. I thought this quote would make an ideal starting point to write about the harrowing plight of homelessness in the Ireland of today, taking into account that there are 259,563 vacant homes in the 26 counties at this moment in time.
In 2016, there were 1,205 families accessing emergency accommodation, this figure included 2,549 children, in essence there are 6,500 individuals without a space that they can describe as home. These figures are not an all island tally, which more than doubles when a figure of 11,000 full duty applicants for housing are taken into account for six of the counties in the north of Ireland.
One in 10 home mortgages, around 34,500 are in arrears and this statistic isn’t going away so a hefty increase in repossessions is be on the cards for 2017. AIB are positioning themselves to offload €1.8bn worth of non-performing mortgages, this includes hundreds of houses that people are living in who will be turfed out once the eviction letters drop through the letter-box.
Instead of abdicating their “responsibilities”, what’s preventing the government from buying these loan books instead of allowing vulture funds such as Cerberus to swoop them up for little or nothing? If the government did this, it would act as an immediate valve to release of pressure on the demand to house homeless families.
Most of those unfortunates are hard working, law abiding people who found themselves in circumstances beyond their control, not being able to sustain mortgage repayments, while others were served eviction notices because they could no longer pay the rent increases demanded by landlords such as Cerberus.
This is why when mentioning landlords we must take into account the ‘new kids on the block’ the scourge of the vulture funds who have replaced the traditional one, two, or three, house or apartment owner who was renting out to facilitate their early retirement plans. This is the unfortunate legacy bequeathed to the citizens of Ireland, by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the modern era godfathers who pursued the ideals of ‘capitalism’ to its limits wearing blinkers that deflected from visualizing the future mayhem it would cause.
To put citizens rights and well-being at the front of the queue, a government body such as Revenue should put a rental cap on all property where the return is more than that owed to a bank or institution, but allow for a common sense profit margin.
Put strict rental management controls in place, on all property portfolios now owned by vulture funds as an emergency measure to stem the unwarranted hikes in rents. If such measures were put in place, it would keep a roof over our heads and property price increases to a minimal.
Speaking up for Ireland’s needs
98 years ago, on January 21, 1919, the first Dáil Éireann met and unanimously adopted a Declaration of Independence which stated “…We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate…” On January 24 this year, the UK Supreme Court in its judgement on whether or not the British government could trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without a vote in parliament unanimously ruled that the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will not get to vote on the Article 50 process.
Also in January this year Pierre Moscovici, the EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs made it clear to the Irish government that it is the EU and not the Irish government that will determine the future post-Brexit relationships between both parts of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.
Almost 100 years on from the struggle to establish an independent Irish state, the future relationship between both parts of our island will be determined by foreign governments with Irish representatives having at most a bit part. This process will unfold over the next few years while the Irish government will no doubt be busy holding events and seminars to commemorate the struggle for independence.
Trump is just keeping his word
It is President Trump’s first week in office and already he has scrapped the Trans-Pacific Partnership, backed the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and banned immigration from seven Muslim countries.
There is anguish around the world at these policy decisions, but why? President Trump promised to implement these during the election campaign, so why are people so shocked?
Is it because we are so used to politicans breaking their promises as soon as they enter office, that when we finally have a politician that keeps them we can’t get our head around it?
For years we’ve been howling for politicians to keep their word, and now that we have one that does, we howl at the decisions. Some voters are just never happy.
No to DC visit
Enda Kenny’s insistence on travelling to Washington on St Patrick’s Day ought not to come as a surprise — “doing the right thing” always comes a very poor second when it might conflict with the interests of the monied 10%. Have we really not wondered why fellow citizens are still sleeping on our pavements?
Blatant promotion of animal abuse
RTÉ 1’s coverage of live hare coursing at the ICC Clonmel Finals on January 29 was blatant promotion of a sick animal abuse.
Conflicting reports said there were 202 courses with no hares killed, not killed but terrorised, confined, injected, ear tagged and chased for their lives.
It later said one didn’t get away, this means the animal was injured, hit on the head with a lump of wood , a’ priest’ as its called. Killed by Coursing staff.
As the ICC said, the coursing was immune to any downturns, the sport of the psychotic animal abusers was seen to most normal people as being akin to paedophilia.
This biased reporting left out the kill of course as is normal when bloodsports are aired. In the footage, one of the greyhounds muzzled for the chase in an effort to sanitise the sport, landed roughly with a possible neck injury.
As the dogs cannot in most cases catch the hare due to the muzzle, they regularly sustain injuries also. Muzzles come off sometimes due to the tumbles of the two greyhounds chasing and the hares are killed or pulled in a tug of war by the two dogs.
Please highlight this injustice and animal violation that is kept alive by the majority of our indifferent politicians.
Coursing is no Olympics
Coursing fans regard the three-day National Meeting in Clonmel as the “Olympics” of their sport.
I beg to differ. Animal baiting has no place in the real Olympics.
Sport is about fair competition. Subjecting a hare to the terror possibly agonising injury of a contrive chase is not sport; any more than pitting Katie Taylor against a punch-bag would amount to an equal contest.
When hare coursing is eventually banned in Ireland, as it has been in many other countries, people will wonder 1) why it took so long to protect the inoffensive Irish Hare from this form of animal cruelty and 2) how some newspapers could see fit cover it in their sports pages and journalists could lower themselves to writing colour-pieces about one of the vilest blood sports on earth.
We don’t see sporting coverage of cock fighting, dog fighting, or badger baiting, partly because they are illegal, but also because pitting animals against each other to fight or inflict injury or death does not deserve such coverage or the kind of eulogising accorded this week to hare coursing.
Google “hare coursing” under news and see what comes up... page after page of damning reports from jurisdictions where it is a criminal offence, with a handful of glowing reports from Ireland, where the practice still constitutes an insult to the name of sport and a monument to lazy journalism.
Mary B Hayes
Nation of pills
Dr Orsmond’s programme correctly focused on GP willingness to prescribe tablets for all ills.
‘Modern’ medicine, at least in Ireland, is about condition ‘management’ in the form of muddling and constant medication. I know from others that depression counselling is hopeless, and that their social welfare may cease if they stop taking medication for a disability. In most cases, physiotherapy is about as effective as watching an exercise video on YouTube.
We have long waiting lists for surgical treatments. When the person finally sees the consultant who hasn’t cancelled the appointment, the pill treadmill is resumed.
I have no sympathy for people who abuse drugs, but medical ‘professionals’ who force people into this abuse, however, latently, should be more accountable than they are.
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