Dublin has the highest rate of homelessness with just under half of all people using emergency accommodation living in the capital.Over 10,000 homeless in Ireland for tenth month in a row
James Cox – Buzz.ie
Mr Varadkar said agreeing to reforms of the property tax system should be central to any deal struck between two party leaders, who are expected to hold talks on an election date in the coming days.Varadkar seeks property tax deal in election talks
Philip Ryan – Irish Independent
Since 2016 the Irish government has been run by what I call a “virtual coalition” between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Politically they are essentially the same party in the modern age, yet with the help of the mainstream media they continue to perpetuate the notion that they are somehow the only options to lead government.
After almost a decade of FG Taoisigh, the general perception is that it is now FF’s “turn”, and this seemed to be a part of the “confidence and supply” agreement drawn up between the two parties after the 2016 election which shut out the various left-leaning parties from providing any semblance of real opposition.
This means that as Varadkar & Martin thrash out the terms for the next election, they also get to determine the battleground on which it will be fought, and according to the above article in the Indo, it seems that is going to be property tax.
I doubt this revelation could possibly be more ironic. On the same week when the country’s homelessness figures are released (it was hard to find an article which didn’t lead with the news that the figures had dropped because that is misleading – they are essentially unchanged and definitely way, way too high), rather than make this a priority for the electorate, it is actually how much more tax homeowners will be expected to pay on which they choose to focus.
Don’t get me wrong – of course property tax is an important issue, especially because it is one that tends to hurt those just getting on the ‘ladder’ as opposed to those much further up it, but when compared to the shortfalls in public housing around the country as NAMA continues to announces amazing profits, I really think it’s a no-brainer that those without homes should be discussed before those with them.
We’ll see how the Irish “Left” goes about the task of forcing the issue to the forefront of national discourse.
As a sidenote, there were a couple of interesting paragraphs in the Indo article which began with the word “Meanwhile”….
Meanwhile, it can also be revealed Fine Gael’s election manifesto will promise to introduce free GP care for all children under 16 if the party is returned to government.
Meanwhile, Minister for State Michael D’Arcy has said the country faces having its first left-wing government if Fine Gael is not returned to power after an election…The minister said this means the next government could consist of Fianna Fail, the Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Fein.
On the healthcare, while of course any progressive worth their salt would be delighted with this election promise, we would much prefer if it came from a progressive government rather than being a “bone” thrown by a “centre-right” one.
As for the second quote, two things : first, I never cease to be amazed how the prospect of left-leaning government is presented like a “bogeyman” in the media (ask Jeremy Corbyn) but more importantly, if anyone thinks a government led by Micheal Martin can be described as “left” they’re fooling themselves, no matter what other parties are propping up the coalition.