Balance and perspective are needed towards landlords

Mary Lou McDonald, who is the leader of the 'anti-landlord' Sinn Féin

Letters to the Editor

I notice that a lot of the rhetoric from Sinn Féin and other parties of the left is anti-business and, most extremely, anti-landlord.

As a people, we begrudge success and wealth – and most recently, landlords have become handy scapegoats for the current homelessness crisis.

Even to the extent that they are being accused of being “unfeeling” because they haven’t experienced homelessness themselves, as one RTÉ commentator recently put it.

That is an outrageous comment to make. Most landlords have the utmost sympathy for their tenants and for the homeless but want to get out for the following reasons:

  • a) They are accidental landlords who held rents constant over many years or decades because of the lack of movement in the market. They are accused now of gouging but it’s difficult to do so in rent-free zones or with low-earning tenants.
  • b) High taxation and lack of allowable offsets compared with corporate landlords puts them at a huge disadvantage.
  • c) Regulation forcing them to sell to local authorities or tenants proves again that
  • they are not allowed to be in control of their lives or assets due to the “common good” while, in reality, genuine “common good” would take everyone’s situation into consideration.
  • d) Being the “fall guys” for lack of effective public housing policy, coupled with the obvious elephant in the room, namely the refugee and migrant flows, puts landlords and property owners in a despised position by many on the left. This is an unenviable and dangerous situation as far as many property owners as concerned despite the fact that some of their friends and family members are affected themselves by the housing crisis.

Let’s get some balance and perspective into the narrative. Some of us do not want to sell our properties, but feel that we are left with no other option. Then everyone pays the price.

Peter Murphy

Ratoath, Co Meath

Vested interests try to make us look other way on housing

Most people are not fools, and can see the flaw in the prevailing narrative on housing.

Irish house and apartment prices are being propped up at extreme bubble levels (that is, far beyond the resources of the individual families who form the natural market for housing) by REITs (real estate investment trusts), vulture funds, banks, and now even local authorities.

They will come back by at least 50% in due course. Landlords who understand this are taking profit while they can, and saving their capital against a rainy day.

The vested interests are desperately trying to get us to look the other way.

Professor Anthony O’Farrell

Maynooth University, Co Kildare


Energy company directors’ salaries gave me a real jolt

I thought I had heard and seen everything until I read in a Sunday newspaper that the CEO of one of the energy supply companies received (or gave himself) a staggering six-figure salary – including bonuses – last year.

I presume that means the more money he can extract from his customers, the bigger the bonus? And that’s probably only the tip of the iceberg, as the CEOs and managing directors of the other energy suppliers refused to disclose how much they are paid.

I would like to know how these people got those jobs. Were the jobs advertised, or were they just offered the jobs because of who they knew in the government?

Martin Heneghan

Dublin 3

Keeping football pundits off the TV is not a bad thing

The controversy over Gary Lineker’s temporary removal from the BBC’s Match of the Day reminds me that keeping moronic pundits off the screens should be welcomed, even if an odd one is reasonably interesting.

Match commentators are bad enough – they are mostly acceptable – but the additional comments from overpaid semi-literates are most definitely overkill.

The Lineker saga may force broadcasters to rethink their strategy, but I would not hold my breath.

David Ryan

Drumree, Co Meath

UK can only be generous and welcoming for so long, Gary

Gary Lineker believes the UK is still “a generous and welcoming place”. I imagine that lofty opinion increases with income.

Third-world poverty already exists in Britain and expecting any country to continuously absorb refugees, ad infinitum, will simply undermine those already in receipt of diminishing welfare support.

People are poor because others are rich.

Eugene Tannam

Firhouse, Dublin 24

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