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Constitutional proposal on right to housing a diversion from urgently needed urban planning reforms?

patslatt

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RTE evening radio news reported that the Oireachtas is considering a constitutional amendment to recognise the right to housing. This is a gimmick to divert the public's attention from urgently needed but politically unpopular reforms of urban planning. In Dublin, Cork and Galway, councils have blocked housing construction with cumbersome planning regulations and lack of investment in water and sewerage in order to please NIMBY (not in my backyard) home owners who vote councillors into office.

It is generally a bad idea to put economic demands into a constitution, especially in Ireland where the government's economic regulatory and taxation powers are already very powerful in our highly centralised government. All that's lacking in regard to housing supply is the political will to remove the councils' regulatory barriers to building. Local government input could be maintained in housing by leaving the planning offices in place.

Idiotic proposals being tossed around the Oireachtas are to hold rent increases to the same level as the consumer price index and to give children the right to remain in place in eviction proceedings. The consumer price index measures prices of many things and those prices could be rising faster in future than rents, in which case landlords would tend to get unjustified rent increases if rents are tied to the index. On the other hand, when rents should be rising faster than the index, the inability to raise rents to free market levels would result in shortages of rental accomodation.

As for protecting children from eviction, why not the elderly and infirm and any other category that pleases voters? Eviction laws would be under threat and in effect the sitting tenant situation could be indirectly restored.

Few or no conventional landlords would invest in houses to let under such constitutional changes and arbitrary rent controls and a sharp spike in homelessness would result. A new class of gangster landlord types known for "Rachmanism" would emerge. Rachman became one of the biggest property owner in 1960s and 70s London by hiring thugs to rid houses of sitting tenants.
 
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GDPR

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Except there are umpteen rulings from Councils and Bord Pleanala that don't find in favour of NIMBYism. Are you suggesting that the Department now under Coveney should be issuing development plans instead of Councils? I'm not certain that this would be any better. As regards the report from the housing committee, let's see what they actually produce and judge it on its entirety rather than select bits of gossip, and whether Coveney takes their suggestions on board.
 

McDave

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Resorting to 'rights' is a cop out for politicians who can't get the basic practicalities right. Makes them look busy when they're not getting real work done - e.g. delivering decent infrastructure, incentivising work, and providing proper education for all.
 
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So this provision has to be all encompassing which means Scummy tenants can NEVER be evicted from Social Housing, no matter what they do.
 

patslatt

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Except there are umpteen rulings from Councils and Bord Pleanala that don't find in favour of NIMBYism. Are you suggesting that the Department now under Coveney should be issuing development plans instead of Councils? I'm not certain that this would be any better. As regards the report from the housing committee, let's see what they actually produce and judge it on its entirety rather than select bits of gossip, and whether Coveney takes their suggestions on board.
Dublin and Cork are indulging in the same NIMBYism as many big international cities eg London and the top ten US cities. The pitifully few housing construction figures in Dublin in recent years are proof of that, despite rulings that you allege. In the UK, new housing in London and the Southeast has been strangled since the 1960s on spurious environmental grounds. Shortages have been compensated for by subdividing houses into flats on a huge scale. That option is precluded in Dublin's Georgian housing districts.

There is only one really effective solution and that is to centralise planning permissions in the national government while leaving planning departments in place locally. The alternative, to impose housing building quotas on councils, would lead to constant political bickering that would place the national government at a political disadvantage with NIMBY home owners.
 
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patslatt

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So this provision has to be all encompassing which means Scummy tenants can NEVER be evicted from Social Housing, no matter what they do.
I've heard from an acquaintance in an attractive inner city Dublin social housing estate that many tenants are way behind on the very modest rents.
 

Mercurial

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It is generally a bad idea to put economic demands into a constitution...
Perhaps, but when one has been governed by people consistently inept at managing the economy, perhaps their abilities to ignore the needs of the people should be curbed.
 

patslatt

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Perhaps, but when one has been governed by people consistently inept at managing the economy, perhaps their abilities to ignore the needs of the people should be curbed.
Brazil has a lot of socialistic nonsense in its constitution, hardly a country to emulate given its colossal government corruption.
 

Mercurial

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Brazil has a lot of socialistic nonsense in its constitution, hardly a country to emulate given its colossal government corruption.
Imagine how much worse they would be if they didn't have it.
 

Congalltee

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They could start by reading the Constitution:

"Article 45

The principles of social policy set forth in this Article are intended for the general guidance of the Oireachtas. The application of those principles in the making of laws shall be the care of the Oireachtas exclusively, and shall not be cognisable by any Court under any of the provisions of this Constitution.

The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the whole people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice and charity shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

That the citizens (all of whom, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood) may through their occupations find the means of making reasonable provision for their domestic needs.

That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community may be so distributed amongst private individuals and the various classes as best to subserve the common good.

That, especially, the operation of free competition shall not be allowed so to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment.

That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.

That there may be established on the land in economic security as many families as in the circumstances shall be practicable."
 

Jim Car

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Socio economic provisions do not belong in a constitution they are or should be the policy of those that are in government. Main reason, such provision don't work and you end up with courts not enforcing them or refusing to enforce them due to the fact they don't have the ability or expertise to allocate funds. Or they may do what the argtinian courts did and say such provisions are guidelines rather then laws due to their inability to enforce them. When you start referring to the constitutional provisions as guideline your in very dangerous territory.
 

patslatt

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They could start by reading the Constitution:

"Article 45

The principles of social policy set forth in this Article are intended for the general guidance of the Oireachtas. The application of those principles in the making of laws shall be the care of the Oireachtas exclusively, and shall not be cognisable by any Court under any of the provisions of this Constitution.

The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the whole people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice and charity shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

That the citizens (all of whom, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood) may through their occupations find the means of making reasonable provision for their domestic needs.

That the ownership and control of the material resources of the community may be so distributed amongst private individuals and the various classes as best to subserve the common good.

That, especially, the operation of free competition shall not be allowed so to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment.

That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole.

That there may be established on the land in economic security as many families as in the circumstances shall be practicable."
Those proposals are aspirational and unspecific in law, which is just as well. The one about families on land was DeValera's daydream of self sufficient cottiers like his upbringing and "comely maidens dancing at the crossroads".
 

wombat

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I never thought I would agree with John Deasy but we can expect plenty of silly gesture politics in the current setup. More houses need to be built which requires sites, services and cash, notcommitments to goodness and light.
 

Roll_On

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Ridiculous waste of oxygen. Build more apartments, build them higher.

All the rest is tinkering at the edges while ignoring that there are too many bodies for too few beds, it's that simple.
 

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