Artist’s impression of the council-approved site for a €22million white-water rafting course at George’s Dock on the North Quay in Dublin

Dear Children,

I know we promised to extend the house so that you wouldn’t have to live in the shed any more but we have decided to build a swimming pool for you instead.

As members of the family you will only have to pay a small fee to use it.

Your loving father and mother.

Cathal Loughney,

Dublin 4.

White-water rafting plan for the capital (The Irish Times letters page)

Previously: White Water Shafting

20 thoughts on “Dear Children…

  1. Col

    Sure, we can spend money on culture and amenities while in the middle of a housing crisis, but is there any data showing demand for this?
    Who will be held to account if there is no ROI due to lower-than-expected sales?

    Reply
      1. GiggidyGoo

        His water skills came to an abrupt end when, one December day, he decided that the cold was too much, so he lit a stove in the middle of his kayak. Of course it burned through, and the kayak sank.
        He couldn’t have his kayak and heat it.

        Reply
  2. Murtles

    Dear Children
    There will be no new roads, schools, amenities, tourist initiatives, tax breaks, social welfare hikes, hedge cutting or employing of new Gardaí etc etc etc until we get this housing crisis sorted. You can thank Cathal for reminding us to stop all capital spending on everything as the 10,000 homeless will take precedence over the 4.88 million other citizens.
    Signed the Gubberment

    Reply
    1. Zaccone

      There are an average of 2.73 people per household in Ireland. It costs an average of €200k to build a property in Ireland. We have just over 10,000 homeless currently.

      To build enough social housing to house every single one of our homeless population would only require building 4000 units, and cost approx €800million. Round it up to €1bn say for convenience.

      This could be solved completely in 6-12 months if Fine Gael actually wanted to. Its not an either/or situation, where other services would have to be cut completely. Thats an entirely affordable price, and a low enough number of units to build, considering we’re one of the richest countries in the world.

      The problem is FG’s dogmatic persistence in their laissez faire ideology, not the money or effort required.

      Reply
      1. Cian

        Not fully true.

        Most of the homeless are in Dublin. So the cost per house is higher (for last 24 months: average €425K median €335K). Granted this just increases the spend to €1.3-1.7bn.

        Most of the homeless are in Dublin. Building 3000 units is going to be either a massive estate (perhaps where the Phoenix Park is?) or 100s of smaller builds. This would take a lot more than 6-12 months.

        Homelessness isn’t static. It’s not like there are just 10,000 homeless people and if you house them you have solved homelessness. There are people becoming homeless every day. If you managed to house the 10,000 homeless by July next year – there would be another 10,000 on the homeless list by September.

        Building this many homes will have knock-on effect on all other home building – private sales will be more expensive.

        I totally agree that we need to start spending money on direct social builds, but I don’t think it is as trivial as you propose.

        Reply
      2. Rob_G

        Try to find an electrician for any job in the next 6 months.

        Now, instead of trying to find one electrician, try finding 1,000 electricians. And 1,000 carpenters, and a few hundred engineers and architects, 500 plumbers…

        Beware of people proposing simple solutions to complex problems.

        Reply
        1. some old queen

          A little tip- contact your local fire brigade office and ask them for a list of trades the fighters have- they are contracted to be local and are happy to take near by work- win win. And, in my experience, they are usually very community minded fellas so won’t rip the bottom out of it.

          Reply
        2. pedeyw

          From personal experience trades people will happily jump on major projects over one off short jobs (and I can’t fault them there) it’s hard to find an electrician because there is a lot of building going on and wanting a new plug socket installed isn’t worth it for them.

          Reply
          1. Rob_G

            This is true. But to marshall enough of them to build 10,000 houses, and then have them acutally build all the houses*, would take a lot longer than 6-12 months, as Zaccone has claimed above.

            * and have all the land acquired, the sewerage lines put in, the engineers design the roads, the architect design the plans, QS price the work, ESB networks provide the juice, etc…

  3. Zaccone

    Theres plenty of vacant land in Dublin outside of the Phoenix Park. Approx 70% of the homeless are in Dublin, so 2800 or so required housing units. Ten to twenty lots of 150-300 unit builds are not a massive ask. €1.3bn to €1.7bn of once off capital spend is also still merely a bump in the yearly budget.

    “If you managed to house the 10,000 homeless by July next year – there would be another 10,000 on the homeless list by September.”

    This is ridiculous logic. Why bother helping them at all so? And its also highly questionable – people are absolutely falling into homeless every month, but not at the rate of 10,000 a year. Clear the backlog and housing the small number falling into it every month becomes very achievable.

    The state built almost 10,000 social housing units a year in the 1970s, when we were one of the poorest countries in Europe. And when we had a much smaller population (ie, tax base). And when construction technology was half a century behind where we are now. Its absolutely ludicrous to claim that we couldn’t do likewise now, if our government actually wanted to do so.

    Reply
    1. Cian

      I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be done. I’m saying it can’t be done in 6 months.

      The state built an average of 6,196 houses per year in the 70s (peaked in 1975 with 8,794). For context there were an average of 16,723 private houses build each year in the 70s.

      Interesting that you mention construction technology – houses were generally much simpler (and cheaper to build) back in the 70s. No insulation, one bathroom, kitchen was a sink and wiring for a cooker, a lot fewer sockets, single glazing – wooden frames.

      Reply

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