By : Collective Ireland
There were 230,000 empty housing units accounted for in the 2011 Census. These units were almost exclusively situated in Ghost Estates.
By the end of 2013, this figure had dropped to 6,350 and at least 40 estates were demolished and cleared having been deemed suitable only for a return to green field status.
How was that work paid for, and who carried it out; why have the estates remained unnamed, and are the cleared areas now available for commercial development?
What we do know for sure, because the government won’t stop telling us, is that last year they built 11,000 housing units. Add to that the 6,350 houses we know they definitely didn’t demolish, equaling only 17,350 units made available over the course of austerity.
There are still 90,000 people on the social housing waiting lists.
This should cause somebody, somewhere, some discomfort.
There are no current figures for vacant housing units, but the figures currently available suggest that each of the 40 demolished Ghost Estates contained an average of 5,591 empty units.
Surely somebody would have noticed the demolition of 40 small towns.
The confirmed abolition of Mortgage Interest Relief in 2017 will save the government 400 Million Euros in aid to its own people and undoubtedly add to the ever increasing problem of homelessness. The abolition of Mortgage Interest Relief is an austerity measure; it is a tax in all but name.
The state craves recognition for its sacrifice of 119 Million Euros last year renting accommodation for people in need. That’s an unnecessary cost of failing to provide adequate social housing.
The housing problem is an opportunity to invest in education by providing apprenticeships to people on the live register seeking a sensible government sponsored route to employment.
If even 10% of the Under 25s on social welfare were trained on government sponsored apprenticeships on a healthy apprenticeship wage of 250 Euros/week to build the housing units required, the state would save, at a cost of 71.5 Million Euros, 47.5 Million Euros per year on renting from private owners to provide the housing that apprenticeships could build.
With over 55,000 Under 25s on the live register, it’s a far more progressive solution than Enda Kenny’s recent commitment to allowing the construction industry access to JobBridge victims.
Nearly 200,000 people lost jobs in the construction industry or related services over the course of this Programme of Austerity. Exploiting the unemployed will not address this catastrophe.
Using it as an opportunity to invest in posterity might.