The e-mail landed at the news desk at 7.37pm on Wednesday. The three Government reports ran to a combined 120 pages. Not enough time to scrutinise the detail. Not enough time to send them on to experts or opposition politicians for comment.
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In January the Department of Housing quietly announced a new social housing initiative. At first glance the Enhanced Leasing Scheme looks like the latest in a long list of largely unsuccessful attempts to attract private finance into the provision of social housing.

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“Council sells contentious Clondalkin house at a loss of 239k”, screamed the local newspaper headline last month. The reason behind the sale of the four bed, 1,600 sq ft property at such a loss is to be found in Ireland’s great unspoken prejudice, class.

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The Barry McElduff debacle has thrown into sharp relief the issue of victims/survivors of the conflict in our country.

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What do you do when you and your family are made homeless? Your notice to quit has expired and you cant source affordable rental accommodation. Your home has been repossessed by the bank and you have no family or friends to stay with. Your parents have thrown you out fed up with the chronic overcrowding caused by you, your partner and two children living in the box bed room forcing your brother to sleep on the couch.

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By every indicator the housing crisis is getting worse. On taking office Fine Gael created a stand alone Department of Housing with a dedicated Minister. The first holder of that office, Simon Coveney, launched his flagship Rebuilding Ireland housing plan. Twenty months on and the results speak for themselves.

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This week I re-read The Politics of Irish Freedom. Published in 1986 it was the first detailed account by Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin’s radical republicanism.

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