'When I began entering politics, we were free to discuss this' - President Higgins on the housing crisis

Michael D Higgins has been previously critical of the policies which have led to the current crisis

'When I began entering politics, we were free to discuss this' - President Higgins on the housing crisis

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President Higgins is planning to attend the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, where diplomats and heads of state will explore options for solutions to the refugee crises. 

Ahead of his departure, Newstalk reporter Shona Murray met Michael D. Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, to discuss his own views on the current crisis.

One of the major talking points surrounding this matter is the EU-Turkey refugee deal, which means that refugees trying to claim asylum in Europe, will be re-directed back to Turkey. 

When asked about Ireland's role in this situation, he said:

"We have many more of our Irish people living abroad than we have on the island of Ireland and they have made their way in different tensions. The worst thing you need, is a war among the poor."

"The fact of the matter is, this is where we're tested. A Republic is about freedom and there is an indomitable decency in the Irish people who will support that kind of view and that's where our hopes are."

Remarking on the ongoing housing crisis in Ireland, President Higgins raised a number of pertinent questions about the issue:

"Are we going to be allowed to be free to say, should housing be something that is in fact primarily met as a function of the market place? And if you say yes, then under what conditions? The thinking on that is crude at the moment."

"When I began entering politics, we were free to discuss this. You wouldn't be dismissed out of hand as I was recently, as the high priest of something or other. This is common sense."

"I don't like the intolerance, if you like."