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The TDs trying to get on the property ladder

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Just 23, James O’Connor is the youngest TD in Leinster House and regarded as a rising star in Fianna Fáil, but he does not hold back when it comes to housing, and house prices.

For now, the Youghal-based TD is unable even to consider buying a one-bedroomed property in Dublin for the nights spent away from his Cork East constituency.

“I think it says an awful lot when a member of the Oireachtas can’t afford to purchase a one-bed property in Dublin city centre. It is very reflective of just how dire the situation has become,” he says.

The decision to close construction during the Covid-19 lockdown was a mistake, he believes, since it has led to a dramatic fall in the numbers of houses built this year.

“If we don’t tackle it, everybody knows what the consequences are going to be. The consequences will be that the public at the next general election vote us out of office.

“Property prices in Ireland are going to rocket over the next three years,” he says, adding that auctioneers “are telling me the situation has now spun out of control and they were never busier”.

“It is hitting every community in every area. I am asking myself the question as a single person, is it an achievable goal the same as it would have been for my parents?”

‘Long drive’

For now, he lives at home with his parents, and is trying to save. “It is a long drive. There are nights I come home at two or three in the morning, it is no joke. You’d be flat-out wrecked, but I love what I do.

“I would aspire to my own home and to have a mortgage before the age of 30 but at the moment I would be of the opinion that it looks incredibly difficult to go and do that.”

For now, even hopes of a one-bedroom apartment in Dublin for Dáil duties are ruled out. “I have been trying to, and it is just not possible and we are seen by the public as being in well-paid positions.

The cost of building has gone up dramatically for every little thing. It is increasing all the time

“The same could be said of people who are working in banking, insurance and many other large industries. A lot of them now are being locked out of the market. In its place you have cash buyers with huge sums of money.”

Sinn Féin intends to channel public anger on the issue, but, in the meantime, house prices are affecting some of their deputies just like in the rest of society.

Roscommon-Galway TD Claire Kerrane is one of them, with the 29-year-old living at home with her parents in Tibohine in West Roscommon while she saves to build a house locally.

20/02/2020 Sinn Fein TD Claire Kerrane during the 1st meeting of the 33rd dail at Leinster House on Kildare Street,Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

“I have an awful lot of saving to do. The cost of building has gone up dramatically for every little thing. It is increasing all the time. If I can get planning permission, that will hold for five years.

“My plan is to get the permission this year and then keep saving and hopefully get to a point where I can start the build and maybe do it bit by bit rather than have a massive mortgage that I will be paying off for the rest of my days.”

Rent increases

Between 2016 and 2020 she lived in three different rental properties, and faced rent increases when she worked as a parliamentary assistant for the party in Leinster House.

I am not even looking for anything fancy and big, I am looking in my own community

“I had three different rentals in under four years. The rents went up and up in all three. In the first two the landlord was selling and then I would have been paying around €900 a month in my last place.”

In the Seanad, Independent Senator Lynn Ruane has just been outbid for a property for the first time, as she tries to find a home. Her ideal location is in Killinarden, Tallaght, where she lives with her mother and children.

“I am not even looking for anything fancy and big, I am looking in my own community. I put a bid on a house the other day and it shot up €15k, I can’t compete with that,” says the 36-year-old.

If she cannot buy a home, she will consider adding an extension onto her mother’s house. “I haven’t been worn out by it yet. I don’t know if in every situation I will be outbid. Plan B is the extension.”

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Social Democrats activists consider deferring request on leadership contest

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A group of Social Democrats activists who want to see a leadership election in the party is looking at deferring their request to consider such a contest until after a new general secretary is appointed to the party.

A draft letter to the party’s national executive, signed by two councillors and 14 others, seeking the leadership contest emerged on Friday evening.

The letter, which has not been sent to party authorities, requested the national executive meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election.

It pays tribute to the party’s current co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who it states “have done exceptional work”, but adds that “it is now time to move to the next stage”.

The party released a statement later the same evening saying its TDs are “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. This statement was shared on Twitter by all six of the party’s Dáil Deputies.

One of the councillors who signed the draft letter, Kildare representative Chris Pender, responded with his own social media post saying: “Anyone who’s read the letter will know it states we don’t have an issue with the leaders, but we believe in the democratic right to vote for that/those leaders.

“A leadership contest would give members the opportunity to show support for the current leaders, if that’s what they want.”

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, was the other public representative who signed the draft letter.

Motivations

Sources insisted the motivations behind seeking a contest include giving the Social Democrats’ membership a say in who leads the party, as well as an issue of timing. They say with no general election expected imminently, it would give the next leader time to prepare.

It was also revealed on Friday that Brian Sheehan, a former director of the Yes Equality campaign, is to step down from his role as Social Democrats general secretary in early September. The decision is not connected with the call for a leadership election and those behind the draft letter were unaware of Mr Sheehan’s decision to leave the job.

However, it has prompted a rethink of the request for a leadership contest.

The Irish Times understands the activists are considering a new version of the letter that takes Mr Sheehan’s departure into account and would not seek a discussion about a leadership contest until after his successor is in place and has had some time in the job. A source suggested the approach with any new letter would be “a bit more cautious”.

On Monday, a party spokeswoman ruled out any contest for the leadership, either before or after the appointment of a new general secretary.

“The rules of the party state any leader must be a TD and all of our TDs are united in their support for the party leadership. The general secretary position is entirely unrelated to the party leadership,” she said.

Ms Murphy and Ms Shortall have jointly led the Social Democrats since its establishment in 2015.


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Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

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Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

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An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

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Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

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Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

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