Little Change in 70 years of housing | Sunday Independent April 21st 2019

Sir – Mr Murphy said, “he was satisfied that the traditional type of housing in this country would not supply the housing needs for a long time and it was possible that the erection of pre-fabricated houses might be undertaken to a limited extent in order to cope with the most pressing requirements”.

It wasn’t the current Minister for Housing, also called Murphy – Eoghan – it was Mr TJ Murphy, Minister for Local Government, speaking in Dublin Airport on his return from London in 1948 and reported in the Sunday Independent, September 5 1948, and reproduced in your supplement celebrating 70 years of the Republic (Sunday Independent, April 14).

So what has changed since that time over 70 years ago? Have we learned anything in the intervening years? From what we read about housing in today’s papers – no. I suggest the only change is the price of the paper, then two pence!

Alice Leahy
Director of Services
Alice Leahy Trust, Dublin 8

Ciara’s wonderful short story

Sir – I hadn’t yet read my Sunday Independent (December 31) when a man I know tapped me on the shoulder to tell me he had read a wonderful short story by Ciara Ferguson, called The Little Smashed Girl, while having his coffee in a St Stephen’s Green cafe. “Do read it”, he said.
It was a wonderful read and captured, so accurately, what we have begun to take for granted in our capital city and beyond. Ciara portrayed the many emotions, some hidden, when telling the story of this young, homeless woman in Dublin. It was fiction, maybe in this instance, but so real. While we are bombarded with statistics on a daily basis, I hope this didn’t deter people for reading this short tale. It should be read by those with responsibility for planning and delivery of services – because it’s what so many homeless people are experiencing today, but they are often unable to articulate their problem.

Alice Leahy,
Alice Leahy Trust
Dublin 8

Tackle scourge of rural isolation

Madam — Last week’s Sunday Independent covered the important political events of the week. DecIan Lynch, however, captured so well an issue of grave concern in today’s Ireland.

The terminology used at all levels obscures conveniently the real picture of what is happening throughout our country. The spin used to cover up the pain, isolation, and potential of human beings cast aside, many of those just because of their age and location, is breathtaking. The numerous jargon-filled reports compiled with conclusions reached with ‘focus groups’ conveniently never delve beneath the surface. The value of the chat with a cigarette, pint of stout, post-mortem on the races won and lost in a warm pub, with a neighbour who lives miles away, is now sadly confined to history.

DecIan’s article shouId be compulsory reading for planners. Politicians have a responsibility to address this issue. Rural isolation and indeed pockets of isolation in urban areas should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Alice Leahy, Director & Co-Founder, TRUST, Dublin