Claire and Eoghan are in their early thirties. Both have permanent positions in their respective public and private sector jobs. They are thinking of starting a family and buying their own home.

With a combined income of €60,000 they have mortgage approval for €210k. Their problem is that saving for a deposit while paying €1400 a month in rent has been tough. Eoghan wonders whether they should move in with his parents until they have the €30,000 saved.

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In October 2014 the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) proposed investing millions of euros of its members savings into social housing. Three years later the Central Bank looks set to give the proposal the green light.

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The loss of water supply to more than 50,000 people in Louth and Meath this week was yet another reminder of the deep rooted crisis in our water and sanitation system.

At least 10% of the water distribution system is at risk of similar leaks. 1,300 kilometres of pipe urgently need replaced. Under current plans this will take at least four years. To describe this as an appalling vista would be an understatement.

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Listening to some of its more effusive advocates, the ‘collaborative economy’ is the co-op movement of the 21st century. It creates communities, shares wealth and helps build a better world.

The reality, of course, is very different. A new generation of brash tech savvy entrepreneurs have become increasingly adept at exploiting regulatory gaps in the services sector.

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Leo Varadkar is getting tough on dole spongers. Last Wednesday he launched a high profile and hard hitting campaign to root our social welfare fraud.

He claimed that ‘anti-fraud and control measures’ saved the taxpayer over €500m in 2016. No detail explaining or justifying this figure was provided. Requests to the Department of Social Protection for additional information didn’t help much.

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After a ten hour marathon session of the Oireachtas Water Committee last Tuesday, Fianna Fáil finally caved into Fine Gael on water charges.

In a series of votes, Barry Cowen and his team opposed proposals which only days before they enthusiastically supported.

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The government is about to embark on a major shift in the funding of social housing. Five local authorities are being asked to initiate a public private partnership to deliver 500 homes.

This is the first of three such projects being proposed by Government.

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