This time of year is a favourite of mine. I love the colours of the leaves as they gradually fade from green to gold and russet. I love the sound as they crinkle underfoot and the way they flutter in the breeze until they find their resting place in mounds that grow in the nooks and crannies. My other half loves the splendour of the autumn leaves as they change colour. He would just prefer if they stayed on the trees and not into our gutters and pathways and walked into the house. Every year he wages battle with them, brushing them off the driveway and sweeping them away from the front door, where, in fairness, they tend to gather in huge numbers overnight. Then eventually he gives in and bows to Mother Nature. He points out that the blanket of leaves on the lawn will die back into the ground and offer nutrients to the grass, ensuring a vibrant green come next Spring. It’s all part of the cycle of life, he says. And we soak up the autumn colours and the last of summer sun and prepare ourselves for winter. The chimney is cleaned and ready for the cold weather and the curtains are drawn each evening once darkness falls.
And my thoughts turn to those in our country who do not have their own front door to close. Last week in our town we witnessed the allocation of newly built social housing to those that needed it. It was a momentous occasion, a great day for the key holders and for the officials who oversaw the project. Problem is, it just wasn’t enough. The provision of these new units hardly made a dent in the numbers of people who are on the housing lists.
Last December the number of households on Kildare County Council’s housing list was 7,319.
Yet according to the Census 2016 figures, there are 4,650 vacant properties in Kildare.
Not all of these properties may be habitable and they may be a mix of private and public ownership but surely some of these vacant properties could be brought into use to alleviate the housing list. What is wrong with us as a nation that we have allowed our politicians to continue to pursue a housing policy which has failed nearly 10,000 people with many more due to join their ranks in the coming months? What is wrong with our politicians that they can stand over these policies and defend them when it has been pointed out to them time and time again that their housing policy has failed totally? Why don’t they just build houses? People need a home to call their own. The workers of this country need homes. Build social and affordable housing.