Labour TD Derek Nolan has said that housing must be seen as a basic right and should not return to a situation where it is controlled by market forces. He accused Sinn Féin of ‘populist politics’ after their proposal to cut the Local Property Tax LPT by 15% in County Galway – which would have hit local authority coffers by €2.25 million.
“There is no question that we are in the middle of a housing crisis – a private housing crisis, a rental crisis and a social housing crisis.
“We are still picking up the pieces of a housing crash and a weak policy that existed under the previous Government. It did not build any social housing and simply handed it over to the rental market. Unwinding that is proving very difficult.
“Social housing is interlinked with the private market. If people cannot buy a home, they have to rent, which increases rental rates. If people cannot afford rent, they need social housing, putting pressure on the social housing market.
“This all feeds into the lack of supply and causes a problem. A much more holistic and comprehensive approach is needed.
“Treating the housing market as a flexible market, where supply and demand is paramount, will always leave us with problems. If we hand over responsibility and say that housing is not a right but is something that we allow market forces dictate, we will repeat the problems we had in the boom. Developers and people with connections will control the housing market once again.
“Housing is something that everybody requires. There is not a citizen in this State who does not need a roof over their head, irrespective of whether that is provided by themselves from their own income, or through a helping hand from the State.
“We need to stop speculators controlling the price of land and ensure that everybody in this country will be able to afford a home. Until we make that decision as a society we will be chasing rather than leading a proper housing system.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
New President for Local Ireland
The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.
Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.
Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”
Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.
He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.
Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.
Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.
Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region
The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.
At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.
Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.
“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.
“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.
Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:
- Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
- Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
- Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
- Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
- Investment in people and skills
- Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
- Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth
Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless
One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.
In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.
Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.
Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.
Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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