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.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.