In the latest Documentary on Newstalk, Producer Brian Kenny takes a look at the effect of our housing and homeless crisis on society and highlights the connection to the plight of Irish migrants forced into homelessness in the UK in the recent past...in “Bricks and Mortar”
Bricks and Mortar will air on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 19th January at 7am, with a repeat broadcast the following Saturday 25th January at 9pm
Bricks and mortar tackles the widely covered subject of our current housing/homeless crisis in Ireland whilst looking from different angles. Rather than solely focusing on the causes and effects of the current deficit in accommodation supply, we look at the larger impact of homelessness and the concept of a house and a home itself. Brian Carey from Trinity colleges department of Philosophy investigates the possible cause of society’s paralysis in fixing this issue that all everyone agrees needs to be addressed. The tireless Christina Noble tells us that unfortunately nothing has changed in Ireland since as a homeless child on the streets of Dublin she dug a hole in the grounds of the Phoenix Park to find shelter.
One thing that is certain when looking at the root causes of this crisis is that it’s something that not everyone agrees on. Karl Dieter gives us his perspective on the differences between the government building houses in the '50s and the lack of construction happening now while smashing the myth of the Golden age Fallacy that Europeans do this much better than us.
Another international comparison is gained through an interview with Bobby Gilmore. Bobby worked throughout the '70s and '80s with Irish homeless people in London, Manchester and Birmingham and talks us through some harrowing tales of individuals who he came across in his work. We hear how homelessness affects the soul of people and how easy it is to get trapped in a negative cycle.
Bobby tells us how the people he worked with in England often chose not to access state services initially as they always felt like they were going to go home to Ireland until they became lost. Importantly though, he tells us that there often was accommodation and social housing available to people in England whereas coming back to Ireland Bobby is shocked to see a homeless problem where state services are not available to those who are (unlike his experience in the UK) actively looking to access them.
Homelessness was traditionally seen and still is by many people as individuals sleeping rough but we have learned that there are very major distinctions in what is involved in the sheer numbers of people without accommodation in Ireland. We hear from professionals working with the medical charity Safety Net who talk us through the differences between people who are on the streets due to substance and mental health issues against people who are unable to access accommodation due to a housing shortage.
These are very important distinctions, as without grasping these we cannot effectively look at how to solve the issue. Through Safety Net we talk to homeless individuals who are on the streets for years about their stories and how for them homelessness is not a new thing rather has been going on for far too long. Bricks and Mortar raises many questions of us as a nation and indeed tackles many of the false narratives currently circulating around the homeless and housing crisis.
BROADCAST TIMES: Bricks and Mortar will air on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 19th January at 7am, with a repeat broadcast the following Saturday 25th January at 9pm
PODCAST: Download Podcast from www.newstalk.com after the first broadcast
CREDITS: "Bricks and Mortar” was produced by Brian Kenny and Malachy Smyth and was supported by a grant from the Columban Missionary Society.