Editorial Observations

Pictured: The latest in affordable homes

Eoin Meegan

With the threat of Covid-19, the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit, and an uncertain economic future the issue of housing in this country was never more pressing.

As a society we need housing that not only provides safety, meets all adequate requirements, and is affordable, but is also a place to laugh and love and grow in together.

To this end we have to stop thinking about units to store people in, and instead think about creating homes. This cuts to the very heart of who we are as a human family.

The sight of rows of tented shelter along the canals masquerading as homes is an affront to all of us. Equally distressing is the ever growing number of young couples, highly educated and hard working, being forced to live with their parents, and denied the joy of starting their own home due to exorbitant mortgages and ever-increasing rents.

This is wrong on so many levels. When we think about it, having a home is a basic human right, up there with safety of the person, and one that needs to be enshrined in the Constitution, as it is in many other European countries, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden to name but a few.

Our lead story exposes this, the ill-conceived planning that threatens the destruction of small villages and the rending of communities, and is expanded upon in our centre page spread which asks incisive questions on why housing laws are being flaunted, and loopholes exploited to bypass the necessary requirement for social and affordable housing.

And we follow this up with a comprehensive history of the high rise (pages 31-33).

On a brighter note we look at how a vitamin we’re all deficient in, ‘the sunshine vitamin’ may yet provide a glimmer of light in the fight against Coronavirus (p. 8); as well as how art is helping those challenged by the necessity of cocooning and self distancing, through an exciting programme that is age friendly and dementia-inclusive (p. 18).

As Halloween is likely to be a muted affair this year, and most people opting to stay in out of necessity, you can read up on what seasonal flicks are on offer to watch from home (page 29).

With the country at Level 3 restrictions and the spectre of fear loose, the impetus was never so great for us to look out for each other. This can be as simple as calling on an elderly person this winter to make sure they have food and fuel. And to let them know that although they may have to be apart, they are not alone.

We are all in this together, and we will get to the other side of it, so being there for each other is yet another palpable way of demonstrating that sense of home.

Finally, I would like to pay a special tribute to our outgoing editor, Beibhinn Byrne, who has been at the helm at NewsFour for the past three years. Beibhinn was respected and loved by the journalists and everyone involved in the paper. She helped guide NewsFour in a progressive and modern direction while retaining its distinctive quality as a community rooted, intellectually robust local newspaper. All of us at NewsFour wish her the very best in her new career.