I recently took part in the Business for Homes event in support of the Peter McVerry Trust’s efforts to deliver a housing-led response to the homeless and housing crisis.
The event, which I found extremely worthwhile and informative, explored the impact of Ireland’s housing crisis on businesses and their employees in advance of Budget 2018.
Some novel aspects to the homelessness crisis were raised. While the awful effect of homelessness on people was highlighted, the impact which the housing crisis is having on companies’ ability to attract the right staff was also to the fore. Lorraine Higgins from the retailer group Retail Excellence Ireland, for example, emphasised the impact the crisis was having on retailers securing staff in city centre locations. I fully concur with TCD economist Ronan Lyons (pictured above) in his contention that the rise in rents and the lack of housing within Dublin is as big a threat to business growth as Brexit.
I would also agree with Ronan that we have to allow some higher apartment blocks to be built in the Greater Dublin Area and generally look at increasing the number of apartments in Dublin, which is extremely low when compared to European averages.
One of the interesting solutions that Ronan suggested – and one that has attracted very little publicity – is to take some of the Dublin lands owned by the Army and use it for residential building. He cited the example of Cathal Brugha barracks, where there are a huge number of stables in being used to house horses which could easily be housed in the Curragh.
As the picture indicates, Eden sponsored a ‘brick’ as entry fee the event, as the Trust constructs a ‘home’ to showcase solidarity for the provision of homes.
Damien Kehir is Managing Director of Eden Recruitment.We are delighted to lend our support to the wonderful work of the Peter McVerry Trust in reducing homelessness and the harm caused by drug misuse and social disadvantage in Dublin. For more about the work of the Peter McVerry Trust see www.pmvtrust.ie.