BEING SEEN TO DO SOMETHING
Sometimes when I scan the news, an item will nag its way into my subconscious with a label attached saying, 'check this out later.'
Yesterday De Paper ran with the story, "Cork City and County to get €46m to build 3,000 homes." At first I didn't understand what was bothering me about this. These 3,000 homes are badly needed for many reasons. Firstly, there is the cause of the homeless but also because of a national house shortage we are seeing again a growing property bubble very much like the last devastating one. In Cork alone the average house price has gone up ten per cent in a single year and it's worse in Dublin. A very average house here costs €200,000 and that is going up every week.
But then it hit me. They are going to build 3,000 houses for €46m and if so, then each one of them must cost a little over fifteen grand. How can they build a house for €15k and yet it costs €200k to buy one? But there's more. Writing about one of the proposed developments they say that, "The infrastructure proposed consists of rerouting the high voltage overhead lines which traverse the site and prohibit development at present." That'll cost a few bob which you'd have to suppose would need to come out of the €46m.
Then they add that, “It will also include the improvement and widening of approach roads on all sides of the site to improve accessibility and capacity, installation of an access route critical to enable site development in phases, and augmentation of drainage, water and utility infrastructure/services to link the site to main services,” They list a load of extra road developments needed to make the €46m plan viable and all in all I am left with the impression that the €46m will all probably go in infrastructural costs and there'll be no money left to build a single home.
Mind you, what kind of home can you buy for €15k? It's a bullshit story, isn't it? The real story is that the housing Minister, Simon Coveney, is locked in battle to become the next leader of the Government Party so this story is there to show he's doing something positive. But a simple analysis shows that it not the case. Instead then, it must be a case of, "Being seen to be doing something," while actually doing nothing. Any why not? Isn't that the way everything is done here?
Update: (3 hours later) – I forgot to mention this programme on the homeless and frustrated home-buyers, aired last night on RTE 1.