Return of The Squeeze Box



Smaller apartment sizes?

The solution of tiny minds.

Dan Boyle writes:

One of the best known and more popular songs of the vast repertoire of the late folk singer, Pete Seeger, was the tune ‘Little Boxes’.

It was written and sung deliberately in a children’s nursery rhyme style, as if to confirm the intellect level of those involved in the planning and construction of sub-standard housing, those whose stupidity the song was challenging.

“Little Boxes on the hill side
Little Boxes made of ticky tacky
Little Boxes on the hill side
And they all look just the same….”

I imagine Alan Kelly singing along to this tune, in that irony free way of his, while in his ministerial crèche at the Customs House. ‘Let them sleep upright’ could become his new cavalier catchphrase.

The audacity of being opposed to shoe box living while re-introducing shoe box apartments back to our housing stock. Maybe Alan Kelly believes what he’s saying. If he does he’s a bigger fool than most of us already believe he is.

The Construction Industry Federation must not believe their luck – To so soon again be given the opportunity to practice their unique form of economic, social and environmental vandalism.

Their lobbying claimed that building new apartment units was not ‘profitable enough’. Note the use of the word ‘enough’ revealing more than it should. The muted acceptance that profits could be made in making human/humane accommodation, just not the right type of gain.

It’s as if the last decade had never happened. We’re now firmly back in the era of squeeze them in, build them cheaply and build them quickly. The era that served us so well.

Maybe I’m being curmudgeonly? I could be focussing on the wrong type of nostalgia. How could I be forgetting those wonderful student parties of my youth. Those daily re-enactments of the ship berth scene from the Marx Brothers ‘A Night At The Opera’; or Graham Norton’s caravan in ‘Father Ted’, or even Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ video.

Maybe I’m overburdening this piece with too many cultural references? I’m fairly sure that Alan Kelly is practically devoid of culture. Other than, of course, the nod and wink culture he seems to be willing back into prominence.

That nod and wink culture, which prior to the introduction of ‘Riverdance’, had seen some of the most deft choreography this country has produced.

There remain some soft shoe, soft sell, geniuses who deserve further public exposure in our cultural firmament. Cllr. Hughie McElvaney from Monaghan is himself one such stylist, especially after his performance on the recent RTE Investigates programme ‘Strictly Fund Dancing’.

If I’m not being curmudgeonly I’m probably being churlish. Any fair minded commentator would recognise how this well timed, well thought intervention by the Minister, clearly illustrates how effective the Labour Party has been in stemming the undue influence of wealthy interest groups on our body politic.

An experience the party, with Alan Kelly at its fore, can put to even better effect as part of the next government.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


26 thoughts on “Return of The Squeeze Box

  1. Jimmee

    It’s still cheaper to buy an apartment than build one in Dublin, hence why so few new apartments are being built. People want more regulations and supply, but together they won’t solve the problem over the next few years.

    1. Anomanomanom

      Well your wrong. And I’m not making that statement to argue. It’s the land cost. If and i know it’s a big IF you have the land a 3 bedroom cost less to build than an apartment cost to buy.

  2. Bonzor

    To paraphrase Dr Lorcan Sirr of DIT, and I apologise for not doing the substance of his original comments justice, why not cut out the Irish developers all together? The Government should tender for large scale public housing developments on the European market, clearly set the guidelines for space, proximity to amenities etc, and let some multinationals come in and do the work cheaper. There may be scope to insist that they employ Irish labour, and its unlikely that they suffer the same credit-squeeze problems which the Irish developer class say are restricting the market. Who knows, they might even do things properly for once.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Well in fairness, when someone does something as idiotic as Alan Kelly has, I wouldn’t expect any other kind of response. The man, Alan Kelly, is a short sighted plaster applying moron. Plain and simple. A complete and utter idiot, there is no delicate way to put it, a total buffoon.

      There is no sensible reason to making apartment sizes smaller. None, nada, zilch!

      1. FreshFish

        This fellow Boyle is a syndicated columnist and part of the elite and the establishment

        Is it any wonder a gobspoo like KELLY can exercise his authority in this way if Boyle represents the calibre of opposition and politician he must best?

  3. joe

    getting that car crash in slow motion feeling once again.. he can’t be the only one culpable for this fupp up though. who are his advisors/whatever, that have caved in to the lobby groups? jesus this country is pathetic..

  4. Dan Boyle

    While I’m here can I wish all who have read and engaged, agreed or constructively criticised, the best of season. Thanks for your interest.

    1. Frilly Keane


      What da’ú(k are you doing around here anyway

      No one on this board is going ta’vote for you

      There might be 150 overall
      Between contributors and lurkers that’ll vote Green

      So Boyle seriously
      What has ya punting yer bits around here
      Have ya got yer eye on sum’ting a bit National
      Or wha

      ( I reckon they’re poo sick’a ya down in Cork… N’ you’ve nowhere else left ta’chance yer hand BTW)

        1. Frilly Keane

          The penetrate your anals’sis is not why I’m here Ban

          A bitta blaggarding
          A bitta chancing me arm
          A quare bitta slurry spreading
          If there’s a peg that needs taking down, I’ll drop it handy enough
          If there’s an inflated notion that needs bursting, I here for that too.
          Win sum’ting every now n’again
          But mainly blaggarding

          But wtf are you arsing about here for Ban
          You on a promise
          Or sum’ting?

  5. Anne

    “While I’m here can I wish all who have read and engaged, agreed or constructively criticised, the best of season. Thanks for your interest.”

    Is that like a Happy Christmas there or something?
    Anyway, many best of season returns Dan. :)

  6. some old queen

    Amazing. And released just before Christmas when the spirit of generosity among the general public is at its best. If this does not reduce the standard of accommodation then why apart from location, are the more desirable properties of larger the floor space? European building standards should be a given at this stage; not a trade off.

    And there is no real way of preventing these units from becoming owner occupied. Not that renter’s deserves any less. Let’s not forget that 100 years ago Ireland was renowned for its slums? Very little on the North Circular Road in Dublin btw if you are thinking of it.

    The free market. I love this term. It is when an Irish Politician is doing a ‘Del Boy’. Nothing to do with me, it is the free market. How much did that consultancy cost? One bluffer can spot another bluffer so professional courtesy applies. Irish Water anyone?

    If this government is actively encouraging the exploitation of ordinary people just trying to secure reasonable accommodation by crooks hiding under the umbrellas of builders and developers then they are absolutely no different to the last. No offence Dan but your crew were part of that crew.

    This was written after most of a bottle of Dry wine from Ldil. It just says ‘DRY WHITE’ on the label, nothing else, long neck, €4,99, Try it. It’s good. Before it is banned.

  7. Gaoithe

    Maybe if there were a price limit set and strictly enforced on how much you could a) sell and b) let these 40-squeakum roomettes for; and if it were mandatory that every ‘studio’ had a ‘cave’ as they do in Paris, for storing bikes, prams, winter stuff in summer, summer stuff in winter, etc; and if a laundry with one washer and dryer per 10 units were provided within 75 metres of flats… 
    But I suspect that a) and b) would end any likelihood of these being built.

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