A letter to Joe Duffy

Dear Joe, 
Just in relation to the water charges being returned. It is being requested now that we donate this money to the homeless societies, as what’s gone from our pocket already, we won’t miss.
I don’t agree. I think that during the time that people had to pay their water charges, they struggled to do so, as we were slap bang in the middle of the 2010 recession. For most people the prospect of this returned money is a welcome one.
I have huge sympathy for the homeless, but I think the onus of responsibility lies with our government to sort this mess out.
Look around Ireland, although there are wealthy people living here, there are still many, many poor people. We are mostly a working class country and it’s these working class and poor families that are rife with disfunction.
And through poverty and disfunction comes un-catered for emotional and educational needs which in turn grows dysfunctional adults who may find themselves unable to cope with the high cost of living in Ireland today.
 Gone is the ability to gain a council property once you are married with children as in my parents day. The ridiculous rents and costs to buy a home is out of reach for a lot of young couples today. It’s unfair of a government to expect every young couple or individual to be able to buy a average size property for 300,000 euros or rent an average size apartment in the city for 1500 euros a month.
I look at my own last child age thirteen and use her as an example as a child with a lot of learning challenges. I’m not sure she would be able to gain a working role with a high enough wage that will see her able to buy or rent a home when she gets to her mid or late twenties. This responsibility is on myself and my husband to make sure that she will be provided for.
And there are many others in this same position, who are already helping their adult children out by cooking food for them, buying clothes, giving money and providing some help in sheltering them as much as they can.
And when those parents receive their water charges back, you can be sure they are probably going to spend it on their  adult children anyway.
Despite there being thousands of families homeless, there are many more thousands of families still trying to catch up on arrears and debt since the recession.
It’s unfair that these parents have to take in their adult children with partners and children. It just doesn’t work.
As a member of a large family, I have also witnessed some family members who struggled because of addiction,debt and homelessness. 
And not having escaped the recession ourselves, we have had our own struggles, but being a nation of majority Catholic living with Christian values, we will always strive to help others first. 
I know when I receive my water money back, I’ll be happy to share a bit of it.
There are many people who have homes who would not be able to afford many luxuries for Christmas at all, so I’ll be delighted to give someone a good hamper of goodies!
The government needs to provide council homes to young single or married couples at an affordable rental cost, like they used to in the 70’s.
 There are so many more issues for the homeless people as well though, that housing alone won’t sort out. 
They will need educational and emotional support too in order to learn the skills that will protect their own children from falling into the same difficulties that they did.
Yours sincerely
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