Tag Archives: Property Porn

The irish Times’ property supplement

On Saturday, during the ‘Danielle Carroll Summer School’ the matter of the Irish Times and the property industry was raised.

The event, named in honour of a young mother who took her own life while living in emergency accommodation, heard from investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty.

Ms O’Doherty said the Irish Times was repeating the mistakes of a decade ago producing ‘property porn’ in an overheated market.

She said this was helping to pay the salary of journalists such as Kitty Holland, a fellow speaker at the school; with her socially aware journalism providing cover for the paper’s fawning property coverage.

For a newspaper to feature a mother and her children forced to sleep in a car while extolling the value of a one-bedroom cottage in Dublin 8 priced at €500,000 is more than just bad taste.

The reaction was swift.

While acknowledging the paper was partly ‘culpable’ in overheating the property market, Ms Holland then tweeted that Ms O’Doherty was an ‘appalling fantasist’ among other things and stated:

“Soaring house prices would happen with or without the Irish Times. Yes we sell advertising and yes wages have to be paid. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if journalists would work for nothing? The target of ire re housing crisis should [be] our neo-liberal economy. But that needs thought.”

In 2016, when Geraldine Kennedy was invited by the joint committee on the crisis and asked to explain her paper’s role in the boom and crash of the Celtic Tiger, she took a similar route.

She laughed at the mention of economist David McWlliams, who had predicted the crash, calling him ‘entertaining’ but like a ‘stopped clock’.

She described Dr Julien Mercille as a “world class conspiracy theorist’ for highlighting the internal contradictions at the Irish Times.

She stated unambiguously that the standard of news journalism and property journalism at the paper was identical.

Property revenue, she said, had “enabled us to have a correspondent in London, Washington, Paris, Berlin, one in Moscow and for a while one in China.”

It also helped secure matching salaries of €300,000-plus for the paper’s then managing director Maeve Donovan and Ms Kennedy, whose pay at that time was comparable to the editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Ms Kennedy was appointed editor of The Irish Times in October 2002, and retired in June 2011.  In her first four years in charge of the paper, revenue from property advertising increased from €10 million in 2002 to €22 million in 2006.

This was 17% of the total revenue of the business compared to 7 per cent of the Irish Examiner’s and 9 per cent of the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent combined.

Between these years the price of an ordinary home increased each year by the equivalent of the average industrial wage and the average timespan of a mortgage between parents and their children increased from 20 years to 40 years

Unlike most other newspapers, the Irish Times is owned by a trust and the structure allows for the editor to have a seat on the board.

But Ms Kennedy stated during her time as editor:

The property bubble was never raised or discussed by the board.”

In August 2006, the Irish Times began the purchase of Myhome.ie which would eventually cost upwards of €40 million (and would have been €50 million if it reached certain boom-era targets}; enough to produce the entire paper without ads for a full year.

The actual deal with MyHome.ie, whose shareholding was controlled by three estate agents and a bank, was not signed off until the second quarter of 2007.

Some months after Morgan Kelly’s article in the Irish Times in December 2006 showing how threadbare the underlying  economy was.

Asked if she had voted against the deal at board level, Ms Kennedy said:

“I expressed reservations about the decision but one was not asked for one’s support since there was no vote.”

Ms Kennedy was asked did she not think of calling a vote?

“No, I did not. I did not feel strongly enough about it because there was a case for diversifying in The Irish Times and property was a big revenue stream for the newspaper.”

Did anyone in the Irish Times publish an article criticising the purchase of MyHome.ie?

“We published a story about it. It was announced in The Irish Times.”

But, she was asked, did anyone write any critical comment on it?

“No, but nobody was stopped from doing so. That is very important.”

Following the crash, the paper embraced the new politics of austerity with gusto.

Dr Mercille, Ms Kennedy’s ‘world class conspiracy theorist’, outlined, with evidence, that 57% of all opinion articles and editorials in The Irish Times discussing Irish Government budgets between 2008 and 2013 supported austerity with opposition only to specific cuts voiced by 15%.

Ms Kennedy, who had left the paper in 2011, said:

“I believe, personally, and would probably have pursued the policy as editor, that there was very little option for Ireland unfortunately but to try to get its house back in order. It required great sacrifices by ordinary people.”

A deputy noted that political parties are subject to limits on donations and protest that those donations have absolutely no effect on their policies, but nobody, least of all the Irish Times, believes them.

Ms Kennedy said the Irish Times should be believed because of its ‘wonderful’ journalism.

A generous bonus structure for property sales executives at the paper remained after the crash.

In fact, little has changed in the way the paper approaches property advertising, property journalism or, indeed, constructive criticism.

Ms Kennedy was asked: did The Irish Times contribute to the property boom?

“I suppose there is the fact that people were looking at houses and here one had a supplement where one could look at beautiful houses. Did that encourage people to go out and buy them?

I do not know. If they were to go out and buy them they have to get mortgages and everything like that. We were not telling them to go out and buy them or get mortgages”

Earlier: Day For Danielle

This morning’s Irish Times

Off the plans, eh?

Garthicus writes:

More fuel to the fire, opening sentence of an Irish Times article about a penthouse :”The boom keeps getting boomier at Lansdowne Place, the Ballsbridge apartment scheme currently so hot it practically has its own microclimate.”

Ballsbridge penthouse goes on sale off the plans for whopping €7.5m (Irish Times)

This afternoon.

Aviva Landowne Road Nua Conference Centre, Ballsbridge. Dublin 4

Supporters for the Campaign for Public Housing stage a public protest outside the 2017 Sunday Business Post Residential Property Summit to highlight the “damage being done to Irish society by those organising, addressing and attending the Summit”.

Fight!

Sam Boal/RollingNews

Meanwhile…

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Slawek Wolowski with Aimee O’Riordan who are residents from Leeside Apartments in Cork and face eviction joined supporters against the planned mass eviction by a vulture fund and in support of Solidarity’s anti homeless devices bill.

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

 

Hundreds queuing.

Waiting lists.

People wandering aimlessly.

Rose Doyle, in today’s Irish Times, reports:

Hamilton Park [in Castleknock] is funded by Nama. About half of the 44 houses in this first phase of three- and four-bedroom houses will be ready to move into before Christmas, the rest by spring 2016. Hamilton Park should be completed by 2018… The three-beds with 111sq m (1,200sq ft) and 112sq m (1,215sq ft) cost €395,000, the four-beds with 144sq m (1,550sq ft) and 150sq ft (1,615sq ft) are €490,000. A single, detached three-bedroom version is €425,000, and a detached four-bed, €550,000.

*jumps on ladder*

Pre-launch surge for homes in Castleknock (Irish Times)

NAMA and Social Housing

Previously: Meanwhile, In Castleknock

it property[Today’s irish Times]

Randall writes:

I was just reading the usual gushing ‘cut and paste’ from the estate agents brochure in the Irish Times about a multi million euro house in Blackrock [Co Dublin].
They failed to mention that what they describe the house as ‘not overlooked; in front is the pitch and putt grounds of the St John of God’s Hospital’. This area is ear marked for a future Halting Site for Traveller Accomodation. Surely instead of stoking another bubble they could have taken a quick look at the council development plan to show what your millions will actually buy…

Hmm.

Should they have mentioned the halting site?

YOU decide.

Three Big Reasons To Move To Blackrock (irish Times)

Council passes proposal to build Traveller sites (Irish Times, January 14)

Lyons

ITT

ViewOK.

Imagine you’ve just woken up and Bobby is having a shower and everything was a DREAM.

Now read on.

The Irish Times reports that  No. 1, Sorrento House in Dalkey is on the market for €12million, making it Dublin’s most expensive house – again.

In an Irish Times video, property editor Madeleine Lyons takes  drooling readers interested bidders on a tour of the house.

“Millionaire entrepreneur Terry Coleman famously outbid Lochlann Quinn, then chairman of AIB, to secure Sorrento House for £5.9 (€7.5) million in 1998. It was the highest price ever paid at auction for a Dublin property.”

“After a lengthy planning process, Coleman extended the dilapidated four-storey building to double its original size at an estimated cost of about €13 million, adding a summer house and guest accommodation.”

“In 2006, the protected six-bed Victorian, tucked neatly between Bulloch Harbour and Killiney’s Vico Road, was placed on the market with a hefty €30 million price tag. No takers.”

Video: Dublin’s most expensive house back on market for €12m (Irish Times)