Anthony McIntyre ☠ It is hard to frame the Coalition government’s decision not to extend the eviction ban as something other than a grievous act of class cruelty.
This is not some crackpot idea floated by Eamon Ryan, but is the agreed policy position of all three party leaders currently leading the government. It is a crass decision, a class decision.
In a society purporting to be democratic, the state should stand up for its citizens. Here the state stood up for the profiteers. Placing – and that is just a start - 2,700 families or residents in the direct line of fire from the modern equivalent of the Pinkerton Agency, acting as the licenced goondas of landlordism, is a substantial assault on citizens. It also contains within it the potential to risk squandering what confidence capital the Coalition has accumulated; a deposit that does not merit the description 'astronomical'. Dr Rory Hearne asks:
How could an Irish Government make this decision knowing the direct impacts on the most vulnerable in our society? I have been highly critical of policy decisions that have prioritised property interests, but this decision is really shocking. Nothing has changed since the moratorium was introduced last October. The housing crisis has actually worsened.
The callous decision comes hard on the heels of a withering critique of government strategy by Social Justice Ireland director, Sean Healy who labelled poverty policy a disgrace.
In recent months, the Coalition has quietly watched as the opinion polls have continued to show a small but steady decline in the popularity of its main rival, Sinn Fein. The distance between the combined strength of the government parties and its populist opposition has been incrementally narrowing. Perhaps the government read too much into this and, emboldened, thought best to strike while the iron was hot and shove the poker up the backside of those most at risk, least able to fight back from tents or homeless shelters, their likely destination if the government gets its way.
It is a strategy fraught with perils. Sinn Fein might not benefit from the kickback due to its own Victory to the Landlords position adopted in Belfast City Council where the party joined ranks with the right wing DUP to block a People Before Profit motion to impose a rent cap.
There is a very real danger that the far right who have been vocal on the housing crisis - seeing in it a blackthorn stick with which to beat refugees and immigrants - will emerge the beneficiaries of Coalition callousness.
When a state robs Poor Peter to pay Plutocratic Paul it is guaranteed the support of the plutocrat. One hand of Irish society has clapped for this proposal - the landlords. We now have a MRI image of the Coalition heart that shows the greed of capital pulsating through the veins and arteries of government. The Coalition, dictated to by the structural logic of capital, could not envisage a way forward that would not leave society and its most vulnerable at the mercy of profiteers and the threat of homelessness.
The problem, an ideological dependency on a historical scourge of the country, landlordism, can be read into the analysis of Sean Healy:
Ireland won’t solve this housing crisis until it increases the provision of social housing in particular on a much larger scale than is currently planned. We have the resources to tackle housing, to tackle healthcare, and to tackle poverty and to do that effectively and within a relatively short timeframe. But the resources are not being committed in that direction.
Informing society that evicting people from their homes is necessary to secure the retention of landlords has all the merits of lowering the age of consent in order to have enough priests able to perform mass.
A scandalous act by a landlord oriented Coalition determined to assuage the greedy and screw the needy.