Date Published: 16-Jun-2011
Padraic Kenna has a simple solution to the ghost estates blighting the countryside. Bulldoze them and build parks for kids.
To deal with the looming personal debt crisis, which has so far put up to 400,000 in negative equity?
Extend mortgages for up to 60 years as is common practice in Germany.
Padraic – or Dr Kenna as he is known in academic circles – is one of the country’s foremost experts in housing. And he is not afraid of going out on a limb to give an opinion.
To his colleagues in NUI Galway he will probably be best known as the academic who helped do away with the requirement to pass an Irish exam for staff jobs after bringing his employers to court.
To the voluntary sector, he will be recognised as the man who headed the Galway Simon Community for five years.
The author of six books, his latest tome is the result of three years’ research but a lifetime’s work.
House Law, Rights & Policy is an essential reference point for lawyers, legislators, local authority officials, policy makers and analysts, as well as a key guide for housing professionals such as planners, housing managers, estate agents, architects and engineers.
The book – weighing in at over 1,000 pages – does not make for light bedtime reading. But it could prove invaluable for people on residents’ committees or those who find themselves in dispute with a landlord or mortgage company, as it contains the most up to date law and policy documents.
We Irish like to think we have a unique relationship with home ownership. Nearly three-quarters of us own our own homes – incredibly 40% without a mortgage – far ahead of Germany (43%) but far behind the likes of Slovenia and Greece, where more of the population live rurally.
Peculiarly in Ireland, Padraic believes, people immediately associate housing with social and local authority dwellings.
“Social housing is only about 10% of housing in Ireland. Because of the Part V requirement [in the housing act where 20% of developments had to be set aside for affordable and social housing] it’s all linked. In about 2000, one third of all the houses on the market began life as a council house. It provided the basis for the boom as people moved up the housing ladder.”
The housing system operates on the back of a range of subsidies paid for by the taxpayer such as the mortgage interest relief, tax breaks for developers, first time buyer’s grant.
So finance, planning and social policy are all interconnected, he explains.
“If there’s a message that I have learned after three years it’s that people who write the policy don’t talk to the people who know the law. There’s no dissonance as I call it – no coherence in our system of law and policy. It’s all fragmented and fractured. The government adopts policies but they don’t see it as a whole system. There was a complete lack of joined up thinking.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.