Dermot Desmond and Sinn Féin

A hefty number of eyebrows were raised when it was heard that Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond had spoken to Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin and that further talks were in the offing. Wasn’t this a case of supping with the devil? Desmond, a man of enormous wealth  – he was recently rated as being worth nearly €2 billion  – is unlikely to have much in common with Ó Broin, who is an unapologetic socialist.

Under Ó Broin’s guidance, Sinn Féin says if it were in government, it would build 100,000 homes over a five-year period, and that it would freeze rents. What does Desmond have to say about housing?

He had a long article in the Irish Times recently, which throws considerable light on his thinking. Here are a few interesting statements from the article.

“The State should direct and control policies for affordable housing.”

“The Government should make available an additional €4 billion …to fund local authority housing needs.”

“There will be those who will argue that State intervention is equivalent to State aid and contrary to EU policy. Currently the State is providing substandial amounts of aid. However, this aid is going toa small number of large developers rather than promoting competition and efficiently providing housing.”

“Accelerate the use of existing space and avoid hoarding for expected higher future prices.

“While previously we thought of homes as being a social right, we have allowed homes to become a globally traded financial asset. This has inflated the price of those homes.”

Let me leave you with three questions”

  1. Which if any of the above quotations do you disagree with and why/why not?
  2. Is Desmond’s commentary closer to what you know of Sinn Féin policy on housing or Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil policy on housing?
  3. Do you think Dermot Desmond is on the IRA Army Council?
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