by Matthew Moynihan
Given the season, my mental projection of the reader right now is most likely an accurate one, – I picture you sitting in front of your laptop or phone, somewhere comfortable with a hot cup of tea or coffee, soothing a mind frayed by assignments, pre-recorded lectures and the current state of affairs*.
Moving away from the asterisked nihilism, however, the picture in my mind is a comforting one, and a reality for most of us, what the Danish like to refer to as hygge. That image, though it may be soothing, presupposes a social commodity not afforded to too many of our citizens for far too long and for no good reason; adequate housing.
As I write this the latest figures from the Department of Housing report 1,120 homeless families and 6,082 homeless adults. Reducing these lives to numbers is the blunt, obstinate and stark instrument of statistics. I ask you instead to picture the empty cups sat out in front of the men and women on our streets, the old man piling up newspapers to stave off winter, the children feeling abject shame in their school today about the state of the uniform they hadn’t the facilities to wash last night.
These are real stories, evolving outside our cognitive bubbles on a daily basis. Perhaps these pages can go a long way to destroying our marriage of convenience to idealism. For sure they will speak about solutions to our housing crisis; legislative, social, and practical in nature. There’s absolutely no use in highlighting the questions as we collectively see them without returning the pragmatic rebuke of implementable answers.
It is without a doubt that successive Irish governments, in their unquenchable lust for the “markets role” in fixing supply, have failed our most vulnerable citizens. They’ve utterly abdicated their responsibility to our middle income earners, with no prospect of home ownership in urban areas and a failure to address extortionate rents – and what of you, the student who paid a deposit, only to be stranded at home, or the student living on a couch after their landlord broke the law and cut short their lease? These are not anecdotal experiences, these are the sobering housing realities facing a generation to come.
You can call me biased if you want, but I believe adequate housing is a right and not a luxury, a necessity and not a desire, and as such I can’t write an editorial here without setting out those facts bluntly. To do so would be an act of cognitive dissonance, and journalistic irresponsibility.
These, however, are arguments that I’ll leave for our contributors and editorial staff to expand upon. Arguments they have mastered, with creative diversity and cogency. Issue #2, The Housing Crisis, presents a layered discourse, from the drive for co-operative based student housing to the potential for a referendum on housing in the life of this Government. It also features inspiring stories of those who have successfully exited Cork’s homeless services, as well as poetry and of course our by-now infamous horoscopes section.
We appreciate, as ever, your support and readership. You give us the drive to keep writing.
You’re only lending us the space though. This is your student magazine. This is digs for your thoughts, so to speak. We want your ideas. I reiterate what I said in my first editorial, back yourself and come write for us.
At this point, after wrangling through various edits, I know that when you read each piece, the author briefly becomes a tenant of your mind. It begs the question then:
If these words and ideas have a place to call their home, then why shouldn’t all of us?
*current state of affairs: trump, brexit, election, pandemic, climate change, lockdowns, a thoroughly f*cked economy and whatever else this Orwellian novel we seem to be existing through throws at us. See also: the world.