In the space of two weeks, a spate of prestigious developments has been announced for Cork, bookended by the deaths of two homeless men.
Excellent article. I totally agree that all this development in the city is being done without any regard for the people who actually live there. It is the same throughout Cork, such as in Carrigaline for example....more and more housing and developments without adequate infrastructure and green spaces etc. However what they are doing in Cork city centre is really upsetting-actually destroying our cultural legacy and the amazing potential of those historic spaces that could be used socially, culturally and indeed economically. An impressive maritime museum and art/cultural aspects would bring in ordinary Cork citizens and tourists.
Excellent, excellent, excellent article
For my entire adult life I have supported people to influence decisions that affected the quality of their lives. There was infrastructure to support that work, including the Irish Community Workers' Cooperative, the Community Development Support Programme, the Combat Poverty Agency, a fantastic number of articulate and well-resourced campaign organisations, and a network of vocal, principled and passionate academics and other professional people who were ready and willing to lend their position power and expertise to bring pressure to bear on government ministers and senior public servants whose planned actions were clearly not in the interests of the majority of people in communities of interest or geographical communities.
What is happening in Cork is infamous. NAMA gave Camden Palace six weeks to come up with the money to buy that blue building near Patrick's Bridge. Six weeks! A developer bought it for what amounted to pocket change in his world.
The City Council and the HSE should be down on their knees with gratitude for Cork Penny Dinners, considering the work they do with homeless people. If they were to develop and deliver a service of this quality, the consultants' fees alone would probably be enough to keep the present service going for years to come.
As I have been seriously out of the loop for some time, I was not aware that those beautiful and historic Port of Cork buildings were due to be demolished. A campaign to prevent that from happening would have been a lot more likely to succeed twenty years ago than today, but all of the support systems that were in place then have either been asset-stripped or killed off. I believe this has been a deliberate strategy by successive governments because in the 90s and 00s things became too messy when ordinary men and women discovered the power they had to enter genuine dialogue with government bodies and bring about policy change that did not sit well with people who do not like sharing power with people who have the temerity to assert their democratic right to be consulted.
The ugliest symptom of this failure of democracy is the enduring power of banks and investment funds to control the housing market, to the detriment of everyone in this country, excepting those in the highest income bracket. If they only realised it, even their position is under threat because their descendants are destined to be squeezed by the same economic measures that are being developed without any effective challenge either from the Oireachtas or civil society, i.e. you and me.
The most damning evidence of this is the existence of tens of thousands of completed new dwellings that lie empty while homeless services are creaking under the weight of unprecedented numbers of people without a proper roof over their heads. Witness how NAMA approached the sale of these houses, and others which are half-built. Rather than sell them to people who are struggling to buy their own homes, they sold them in massive job lots to investment funds at knockdown rates. The few voices in the Oireachtas who questioned this lunacy were dismissed as cranks and lefties, a cynical defensive move that attacks the player and not the ball. There was almost no political discussion addressing this wholesale looting of what was and is fully Irish-owned wealth. That wealth resides in the fact that our money was used to bail out the banks who gave the calamitous loans to the developers who built these housing estates. We will be bailing out those loans for decades. Now, many of those homes have been sold to finance houses - many of them not even Irish - and are not even being returned to the Irish residential market. This is falsely hyping up house prices and rents. What justification did successive ministers offer for this criminal misappropriation of the family silver? They said that it was more efficient than selling them on individually to people who wanted to live in them or rent them out. More efficient. Let that sink in for a minute. Their argument is risible for so many reasons.
Cheaper rents would allow more families to save for a mortgage.
Cheaper rents would allow more nurses and doctors to relocate to Ireland and live in dignity on their salaries, and in doing so, go a long way towards addressing the staffing crisis in the health services.
Cheaper house prices would make it possible for many more people to move out if rented accommodation, freeing more dwellings for tenancies, with a knock-on reduction in the number of individuals and families seeking emergency accommodation.
Cheaper house prices would allow families to survive economically on one salary, or two part time salaries, a change that would have a transformative effect in parents who want to raise their children without having to pay the crippling cost of daycare.
But it was considered more efficient to sell those homes to finance houses.
The silly thing is, with all the resources they have at their disposal, the majority of our Oireachtas seem unaware that they have Irish society jammed into a grinder over which they have less and less control
Unless something radical changes, Ireland is going to pass the point of no return.
Great read Ellie. Having kept an eye on this issue for the last while what has struck me more than anything else is how the city council (CCC) in conjunction with developers is powering ahead with what it wants to do - irrespective. CCC nailed its colours to the mast on this issue and its development strategy decades ago. Its antagonistic stand against the modest proposals of Save Cork City speak legions really. In my experience the only way to counteract an body as determined as CCC and its support club of developers is to organise. Their are voices of opposition and groanings of despair but until we organise to take on this direction the city is being taken in we won't get anywhere. I don't have any proposals but if we don't do anything we are truly lost.
Brilliant description of what's wrong with planning in Cork. Those blue glass cubes sitting on top of beautiful limestone buildings? And high rise - typical Cork inferiority complex wanting to have the ' tallest building in Ireland' . Breaks my heart to see those red brick warehouses sacrificed for the men in suits.
Amazing piece. Love these longform articles!
Great read and very good point about changing architectural trends no many European cities inccluding Dublin are building skyscrapers anymore you wonder where are on this subject the various architectural schools in Cork and why are not speaking up..? and to John I say we only lost a battle the war has only just began
The rising sea level will make these investments in the low lands a total loss for those who are the last in the greedy line.
Every five years in the past the sea level forecast for 2100 ( 80 years away) had been increased by 50% compared to the previous forecast.See the chart here:
The leaflet was handed out at the Cork climate conference organised by the UCC.
We guessed 2 years ago that the next forecast would be showing an expected sea level increase of ca. 1.2m by 2100 (grey dotted field in the chart): in line with the previous corrections of the IPCC of +50% every 5 years.
And we stood to be corrected by the UNEP who forecasted the sea level to rise by 2 - 2.5m only 4 months ago.See page 64/66 in the report "State of the Environmentand Developmentin the Mediterranean" from November 2020:
An exponential growth which couldn't be clearer.
Ireland's coastline as we know it will be lost for ever. That a government serving the Banksters (all these lost lands are prime mortgage pieces for them) for a last dance with the public to bail them out again we have seen before.
The human catastrophe behind this economy describes the article by Elli O'Byrne.
When the students from F4F march in the streets of Cork the homeless people join them each time chanting all together "System change,not climate change!".
They know what they are talking about,they feel the pressure every day.
If the City was honest to it's citizens saying this town is lost since we can't fight the laws of physics and won't get psychiatric help to fight our personal greed (a symptom of fear) and these lands are worthless and no dam and no pump can save them - then the land prices would drop immediately.
All property speculation and building activity would stop in the flood zones.
Most banks will go bust again, property prices in general will be in the free fall. And rents accordingly. The homeless could be placed in appartments and houses for a fraction of the price of an emergency shelter.Today.
And we can kill capitalism.But this won't work by marching with the Banksters. And certainly not with a goverment of corrupt liars in the wheelbarrow. Half of the TDs are property speculators and/or millionaires.
The students and the homeless demand: "Tell the truth!"
The City of Cork's engineering company ARUP has said that the town will be lost in 50 years even if a 1m wall was to be build along the shores.
And that was in their 2nd engineering report deliverd in 2019 !
ARUP corrected their previous report also from 2019 by -75%, ARUP's self-corrected report told the City of Cork that the city would be safe for 200 years .....
But now the UNEP has confirmed in 11/2020 that it will be lost in a much shorter time. Not one mortgage of any apartment owner/office owner in the shiny ruins will be fully paid back by then.The old town of Cork will be flooded around the clock in less than a generation time.
The emperor is naked beyond beggar's believe.