Energy crisis: Gas to rise 50%, consumers paying £1,000 more for energy than last year…

read, socks, coffee

This winter is looking absolutely grim. Supply problems for shops, staff shortages, health services on the verge of collapse it just gets bleaker and bleaker. The latest kick in the nuts is energy prices are expected to surge once again. From the Irish News: RISING costs have left the average consumer in the north paying £1,000 more for energy than last year, amid the worst price shock since the 1970s. Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator has warned that soaring wholesale gas …

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We need to be doing a lot more to insulate homes…

food, drinks, people

While personally, I have no desire to superglue myself to the Westlink, I generally agree with the activists of Insulate Britain. Home heating is one of my obsessions. I have given a scary amount of mental energy to it over the years. The core principle of insulate first makes sense. It is better to ensure homes are properly insulated before you think about the heating. A well-insulated home can dramatically lower energy bills as well as being more comfortable for …

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The great delusion: Why rising house prices are nothing to celebrate…

a room for young people, decoration, architecture

House prices in Northern Ireland are nearly 10% higher than they were last year. The average price for a house in Northern Ireland is £153,449. While we are not seeing the insane prices we had during the last boom there is a huge demand for houses. Rental prices have also increased. If you like traffic this 2 bedroom flat on Stockmans Lane can be yours for only a grand a month. Rising property prices give homeowners the delusion that they …

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How do we improve our towns and villages?

One of the (many) disappointing realisations that came to pass during the Time of Covid is just how many people don’t like being in their own home for too long. The place where they’ve chosen to live (or at least settled into). The place where they raise their families or invite their friends round. As such, people all over Europe were almost literally running for the hills (or forests or cottages or seaside houses) in order to get away from …

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Time to reset our approach to energy efficiency of homes to support a green, climate-resilient recovery…

By Dr Patrice Cairns, Policy Manager, RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). You can follow her on Twitter. This year, for many, their home has become not only their shelter but a place of work, of homeschooling, of social space and respite. It can be assumed that there is undoubtfully now a greater appreciation of the intrinsic link between wellbeing and improved indoor health. However, if we spend more time at home, we will typically use more energy. The built …

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#TheReset-A safe, secure, and affordable place to call home can never be overstated, not least during a public health crisis

Heather Wilson is the Policy and Engagement Manager for Chartered Institute of Housing in Northern Ireland. Today she writes about the future of housing.  The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown brought about challenges never before faced by the housing sector in Northern Ireland. The almost instantaneous inter-agency cooperation that emerged during the early days of lockdown to make Northern Ireland the first and only jurisdiction across these islands to place all rough sleepers into accommodation sent a strong signal of …

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‘There is something seriously and fundamentally wrong’ – Northern Ireland’s housing crisis

Although the shortage of housing was a major issue in the recent Irish general election, it is also a major challenge in Northern Ireland. For some reason, there is much less focus on this north of the border. PPR – the Participation and Practice of Rights – is keen to correct this, as its housing activist Marissa McMahon explained in the latest Holywell Trust Forward Together podcast. It is important to consider the statistics when placing the housing crisis in …

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High speed rail to the northwest would help alleviate Dublin’s housing crisis and Ireland’s severe regional inequality

Among the problems facing Ireland in 2020, two of the most pressing are the housing crisis in Dublin and severe regional economic inequality. Far removed from Dublin or any of the prosperous regional hubs such as Limerick, Galway or Cork, incomes in the northwest of Ireland (on both sides of the border) are amongst the lowest on the island. By contrast, despite the buoyant jobs market in Dublin, housing in the capital has become extremely expensive in recent years, with …

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The cost of living either side of the border

The issue of the cost of living either side of the Irish border received renewed interest today, following Senator Ian Marshall’s comments on the Sunday Politics that a single person in Northern Ireland is left with about £16,000 [at the end of a year], whereas the same person in the Republic would be left with €1,900 in their pocket. The Senator’s logic was that the cost of living is higher south of the border, and to an extent this is …

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Shared housing and integrated education: Building good community relations

Shared housing and integrated education: Building good community relations by Allan LEONARD 7 August 2019 A panel discussion on how shared housing projects and the integrated education movement are contributing towards good community relations was held at St Mary’s College, Belfast, as part of the Feile Festival. The panellists were Deborah Howe (Equality Commission), Christine Davis (Housing Executive), Grainne Mullin (Radius Housing), and Jill Caskey (Integrated Education Fund). The event was chaired by Gerry McConville. After a welcome by Jessica …

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Push: a warning for Belfast

There’s a scene in ‘Push’ where Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, visits the home of a woman in Chile. The house sits atop a leafy hill and has the marks of being well lived in for decades. The woman looks despondent as she shows Leilani about, pointing out the window. Behind her, you can hear the roar of building work. It’s so loud that the camera seems to shake. The source of the noise is …

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Driving home for Christmas? Be thankful

As I walked through Belfast City Centre a couple of Fridays ago I passed, scattered among the late-night revellers, five maybe six rough sleepers.  Some were out cold, some awake looking vacantly at the crowds and some taking the opportunity of the passing footfall to ask for spare change. Seeing rough sleepers in Belfast is nothing new, I recall them from my childhood too.  But it remains something that is hard to see and fathom, at this time of year …

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Why protesters are taking over Dublin

Today is a day of action in Dublin, as protesters gather outside government buildings to demand action to a grinding housing crisis. Homelessness has hit record levels, and rents have hit such heights that even well-paid people are struggling to meet them. House prices have surpassed their Celtic Tiger levels, putting home ownership out of reach for even many in the middle class. How did the crisis reach this point? The new episode of The Irish Passport podcast explores the …

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#RebootPod: Ireland’s housing problem from a sustainability point of view

#RebootPod podcast is for policy-minded optimists, co-hosted by Dublin-based Rory Hearn and Tony Groves and is focused on seeking solutions, rather than restating old misery. They started with Mick Byrne, who lectures in political economy at UCD and focuses on breaking the negative narrative cycle and looking for sustainable solutions to the housing crisis.

Soapbox: Housing Then and Now – Conference on 15 June in Dungannon, 50 years on from Caledon sit-in

HOUSING THEN AND NOW – one day free conference in Dungannon on Friday 15 June examines the housing allocation system in the 1960s, civil rights marches, the formation of the NI Housing Executive, and the present day challenge of how to provide social housing which is not divided on religious grounds with input from activists, academics and the students of today.

“Redeveloping the area for future decay”

David Capener is  a contributing editor for Archinet a global online architecture website/magazine. As fingers point towards the Markets community of Belfast they do so perpetuating a forty year long narrative that began, in the name of ‘regeneration’, with the unpicking of the grid street system, that since the 19th century had knitted the inner city together. “They started to disconnect the communities and build a wall around the area” says Deirdre showing me a historic plan from the 1800’s …

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We don’t live in apartments… we live in towers of money

To add to the odd times we are living in, the most sense on the Irish economy is talked by a guy with a shopping bag on his head. Blindboy is one of the Rubber Bandits. Rubber Bandits are a comedy art duo from Limerick who rose to fame with their classic anthem Horse Outside. Here he is talking to Tubs on the Late Late Show: Much has been talked about how property in London is basically piggy banks for …

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Labour TD wave and cheer as Kelly shoots them in the foot…

SHOOTING ACCIDENT: Derek Mooney​ argues that the best chance many second placed FG TD in a constituency who came in after a party front runner have in the next election is the demise of a sitting Labour rival. Mishandling of the ‘rent certainty’ issue only makes those Labour TDs more vulnerable.