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Troy Story: People Before Profit loses the plot on landlords!

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Troy Story: People Before Profit loses the plot on landlords! Troy Story: People Before Profit loses the plot on landlords!

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Robert Troy finally resigned as Minister of State last week following a drip-feed of damaging revelations about his failure to declare property interests.

When law-makers fail to comply with their obligations under the law, and support legislation that could enrich them without declaring a potential conflict of interest, it brings politics into disrepute.

Much of the commentary and criticism of Troy was valid. If he’d filled out forms properly, and declared his interests, then there wouldn’t be a controversy.

So the ‘poor Robert done-down by the media’ theory doesn’t wash. He got what he deserved, and the people of Westmeath will ultimately judge him and his actions in the next General Election. That’s democracy.

People Before Profit smelled an opportunity to stick the boot, though. Their rep in Galway, Adrian Curran, correctly pointed out that 80 TDs and Senators are landlords, Galway East TD Seán Canney and Galway West TD Noel Grealish among them.

But then Adrian got over-excited and declared: “There should be no landlord TDs and no landlords full stop.”

Even allowing for the rather radical suggestion that TDs should not be allowed to own investment property, although that’s never going to happen, PBP damaged its own credibility as a serious political force when he said: “There should be . . . no landlords full stop”.

That’s like solving world hunger without farmers. Seriously, how do you solve the housing disaster without landlords? You may not like them; but at least concede they’re a necessary evil, and rental properties are part of the solution.

Organisations like Galway City Council and Society of Saint Vincent de Paul are landlords; should they cease to provide accommodation in PBP’s utopia?

In fact, in Galway, we need more not fewer landlords. Because if we had more landlords willing to lease their properties long-term, rather than hollowing out established residential city communities by using their additional houses as short-term lets for tourists on Airbnb, then it would go part of the way towards solving the housing crux.

If there’s one thing politicians could learn from ‘Troy Story’ is that the Standards in Public Office Commission is not fit for purpose. SIPO needs teeth, and adequate funding so it can bare those teeth. Otherwise, this sorry saga will be repeated.

(Photo: Adrian Curran of People Before Profit who proclaimed: “There should be no landlord TDs and no landlords full stop.”)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. For more Bradley Bytes, see the September 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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