New house-buying scheme is skewed in favour of richer

House-hunting has been made easier for wealthier prospective buyers. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Letters to the Editor

The Government has announced “significant improvements to the Local Authority Home Loan” scheme that widened eligibility for a state-backed mortgage.

The prices of homes to be covered by the scheme and the income limits of those eligible to apply for a loan are being increased. This is despite the fact that many believe this scheme is discriminatory, in that it is only available to those with an income that can support the significant mortgage necessary.

And the figures seem to bear out that conclusion. The new scheme will see houses of the value of €360,000 included and persons with an income of €70,000 a year will now be eligible to apply for the state-backed initiative.

This might be a reasonable action by the Government if all those with insufficient means to consider buying a house had access to adequate social housing to meet their needs. But they don’t and many, as we know, are couch-surfing at best or sleeping rough at worst.

Surely in the current circumstances a responsible government would be employing all of its resources, providing sufficient social housing stock so as to create that much-needed vital safety net that would ensure there is never a reason for a citizen to be homeless.

Perhaps the failure of the Housing Minister and his colleagues to see the inherent injustice in a scheme that reaches over the heads of those in dire need to give available funds to others with what can only be regarded as a reasonable income is a sign of an understandable temporary loss of direction brought on by the extraordinary strains of current events.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Rescue response in Syria will be lesser due to world politics

The multiple tragedies that are increasing by the hour due to the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria require a well-coordinated rescue and humanitarian response from the international community.

Ideally there should be no differentiation in the responses to this huge emergency regardless of whether the victims are in Turkey, or in Turkish or US-occupied northern Syria, or in Idlib province which is controlled by Syrian rebels, or in the large areas of Syria controlled by the Syrian government, that were devastated by the earthquakes.

The reality is that due to national and international factors, the Syrian victims of these earthquakes are likely to receive far less assistance than those in Turkey.

The conflict in Syria since 2011 has already caused huge suffering and loss of life.

Sanctions are now contributing to the death toll and suffering of the Syrian people.

These unjustified sanctions, that have an effect mostly on the most vulnerable, especially children and the elderly, should be ended. It is the duty of the international community and of all members of the United Nations to respond to such emergencies in an equitable and caring manner.

Edward Horgan

Newtown, Castletroy, Co Limerick

Hypocritical sympathy from Vladimir Putin after Turkish earthquake

Reading Tuesday’s Editorial (‘Natural disasters open our eyes to the fragility of life’, Irish Independent, February 7), Vladimir Putin wants to convey words of sympathy to the families of the victims of Turkey’s quake.

This is very hard to take seriously. In his twisted mind, he absolves himself from any guilt as he sends his army out to destroy life and limb in Ukraine every day.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co Louth

Fond memories of fabled picture houses of our capital

​Frank Coughlan’s article (‘Spielberg’s latest triggers magical movie memories’, Irish Independent, February 7) brought back memories of my many years visiting the cinema houses in Dublin city in the 1960s/70s. He writes: “There was something about going to the movies in a picture palace that had you spellbound even before the lights went down.” Just like young Sammy Fabelman in The Fabelmans.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Crokes and Glen on song for future pitch battles no doubt

​As the final comments are being summed up on this amazing All-Ireland Club Football Final, on a lighter note I wish to state that two songs might sum up this saga.

Kilmacud Crokes: The Sound of Silence. Incredibly they kept their powder dry while the media platforms tore them asunder.

The Glen: Congratulations. In their final statement, I notice they forgot to use this simple word towards their opposition after they withdrew their objection.

​Tom Coughlan

Balinteer, Dublin 16

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