This is the first of a series of exposés on the effect of the establishment’s mass-asylum policy on the most vulnerable groups in Irish society.
The last few years have not been the best for the Irish housing system. With a lack of supply and an ever increasing demand, compounded by the recent heavy influx of Ukrainian refugees, the system is past the breaking point. Soaring house prices make it a pipe dream for young people to own their own home before 30, delaying family formation, it also forces more and more people into an already saturated renting market. One thing is certain –this system cannot go on.
It would be superfluous to mention all of the stats that have come out recently highlighting just how bad the problem really is. While the greed of landlords is often waxed about by leftists and their political representatives, no help is offered to those struggling from the current crisis.
In this article, we collate interviews with young Irish people around the country who were thrown out of their homes by their landlords on short notice in many cases so they could cash in on the Ukrainian refugee system, for which the government provides grants and monetary aid, making it not only an appealing moral act, but also a more financially profitable one.
Family Planning in the Age of Mass Immigration
In Donegal, we heard from a young couple who were recently told to up and leave from their previous accommodation just one month in advance by their landlord. This young couple, both college educated, are struggling to make ends meet as they pay “1000 euro a month in a standard house which is riddled with mica, mould, and generally unmaintained”. They insist that the ridiculous cost of renting is brought on by a saturation in the market due to the locality housing many refugees and asylum seekers.
They told us how their previous landlord began a renovation process (while they still lived there) installing en-suites to each of the 6 rooms as that way he would “get more money per head per night”. Fortunately, this young couple were able to find new accommodation after this, but others have not been so lucky. Despite finding accommodation, the price they pay does not match the quality due to soaring costs as they can’t afford to match “the lucrative contracts given to landlords for housing refugees by the government”.
The young couple, who were planning on starting a family, have had to put those plans on hold until they can get past their immediate financial quagmire. As they have to reach out to family to help them buy groceries to help them through to payday, they added that “even without unnecessary spending, we’re still just about getting by”.
Living With Uncertainty
This is not a unique occurrence, as another couple, also from Donegal, face a similar situation. Again, their rural town has been overtaken by refugees and asylum seekers now being put in hotels and anywhere else they can house them, driving up the market and pricing Irish people out of renting, let alone buying their own home.
This couple currently share a 1 bedroom flat and are unsure as to whether their lease will be extended as they have received no word from their landlord. As a precautionary measure, they have decided to look elsewhere for rent, but found nothing they could afford in an already scarce market. They had planned to purchase a mobile home so they can have some sense of housing security and not spend each month throwing away money on soaring rent.
They attribute this situation to “the recent influx of refugees to our small rural town, with already limited housing, landlords are choosing between housing local people, or refugees, with a sizable grant coming with the refugees”.
This has increased an already stressful financial situation on the young couple as they ask themselves “where will we live if we can’t renew our lease? Will we have to move out of our town and subsequently away from our jobs?” This young couple feels as if they are “being treated as existing customers in our homeland, with little to no regard from our government”, luckily for this young couple, they still have a roof over their heads, this is not the case for many in similar situations who now rotate between couch surfing, sleeping in their cars, or short stays in homelessness shelters, despite being in employment.
Asylum and Institutional Homelessness
Finally, we spoke with a young man in Galway who recently became homeless. He had been living with his girlfriend for a few years but his girlfriend and himself started to argue and eventually split up, leaving him without a roof over his head overnight.
For a 3 week period he had sought help from services in Galway, who directed him to try the notoriously overcrowded and dangerous Fair Green hostel. The hostel, which functions as a homeless shelter, was already too full and was not able to help him. He slept in his car for almost three weeks. The young man currently sleeps on his brother’s couch, but this situation is merely temporary and in no way a long-term solution.
The overall situation has put great stress on him, not just mentally but physically as well as he noted a drop in his work performance and now fears losing his job. He lived first hand the lives of the downtrodden often read about in the news. He was lucky to find accommodation with his brother but asks the question “What chance do the homeless have, when we already have too much demand on all our services?”
We wonder how a person fleeing from a domestic abuse situation would cope given these circumstances where our students and workers in full employment can be made homeless virtually overnight.
Also in Galway, lecturers at the NUIG have been telling students that they can defer their year this year if they fail to secure accommodation. Students have been sleeping on the campus grounds in tents. Some female students have been coordinating with each other as to where they’ll stay overnight, parking their cars near one another for added security as they try to sleep at night and then using the campus facilities to wash and brush their teeth before the morning lectures.
We spoke to a student in NUIG who outlined the scale of the crisis: “the fact that students have to sleep in their own cars is absolutely disgusting, it’s something that isn’t being talked about enough and you would only become aware of the severity if you were a student on campus.”
As to the reasons for the crisis she said that “the root cause is lack of authority around housing and tenant rights, along with an influx in housing everyone apart from the students. A lot of student housing is not being used by the students at the minute.”
The plight of Irish students doesn’t seem to top the list of the university’s priorities.
These are just some of the many responses we could have put together. In all cases, those who reached out placed the root cause on the government’s current misguided altruism. We have had a homelessness problem and a housing crisis for several years and the money never seemed to be available for any fixes, be it short or long term. But out of nowhere, it now seems the government not only has the money to make the situation viable for landlords or hotels, but so financially profitable that some are cashing in on the current scheme to the detriment of the Irish people. This is a national disgrace and needs to be remedied immediately.
This concludes the first part of a multi part series looking at the lengths the Irish government are willing to go in their quest to save and house the world. In the coming weeks we will have more articles examining different sectors and looking at the negative effects this is having on vulnerable groups of the Irish population such as young adults and students, the elderly, and the homeless.