Composite: C: Gript

The left’s housing promises do not add up

Students from various third level institutions in Dublin held a protest outside City Council offices on Wednesday to call on Dublin CEO Owen Keegan to resign following his smart-ass advice that the UCD students union might become involved in the property market if they are serious about providing accommodation for their beleaguered members.

The protest was predictably attended by representatives of Sinn Féin and People Before Profit. Two parties of the same name were part of a left majority on Dublin City Council between 2014 and 2019, but they never actually got around to solving the student accommodation problem when they had the chance.

They were likely far too busy deciding where to place multi-coloured paths, which countries not to buy computers from, which cool flags to fly on public buildings, and who to name bridges for, to be wasting their time at such trivia. It is quite apt really that they have such an affinity with student unions.

It is also a fact that both parties – and the Social Democrats who sent someone along as well to regale the yoof with promises of jam tomorrow – seem to think that there is an endless supply of housing at any or no price.

For of course, the left is forever promising to ensure that not only everyone on local authority housing lists will be given a place to live, but that the same guarantee ought to apply to randomers who arrive here from around the globe to be welcomed to the bottomless trough of free stuff.

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin who is constantly going on about the housing crisis seems to believe that providing houses specially for people who have not even been granted proper legal status, or may not even be here yet, might be part of the solution to it. How in all seriousness is that supposed to work?

The Union of Students of Ireland, which is the umbrella body for the UCD students union at the centre of the Keegan mini-controversy, has also supported calls for asylum seekers – most of whose applications are ultimately rejected – to be provided with housing not only at the expense of the state but presumably in preference to people on the local housing waiting lists.

Well, that is not how things work. Every good has a limited supply. If there are 10 cakes and there are 13 people who want to buy a cake, not only will at least three of them not get a cake but the prices of the cakes will increase. And yet, Sinn Féin, People Before Profit and the USI are under the impression that this does not apply to houses and apartments.

Oh, but “We will build more” they cry. Fair enough, but even the pig-in-a-poke figures thrown out by Sinn Féin will not be enough to meet current or forecast housing demand. And especially not if they are proposing to welcome an unquantifiable number of people from overseas to claim dibs – first dibs in fact – on this limited supply.

There is a serious issue to be addressed if students here find that accommodation is both hard to find and expensive. The solution to that is unlikely to be found in student unions buying up apartments. Nor is it going to be made any easier by cheer leading the sort of migration policies that particularly in Dublin are a major contributor to those difficulties.


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