By Laura Lynott
I have been renting all my adult life – and my daughter has grown up in rented homes. I, like many now live in fear of how much longer I can cling on to pay to live in rented accommodation in Ireland.
I, like many, worked hard all my life – and thought one day, that I would be able to get on the property ladder in my mid 20s, or early 30s. However, sadly, that has not been the case.
I live in a society which is increasingly charging more and more just to keep a rented roof above a family’s head – while the promise sold to me as a child of owning my own home, is moving further and further from my grasp.
I estimate I have probably spend around 100,000 euro in rent over the years just to stay afloat – while I was never allowed the opportunity to buy my own home in Ireland because I could not get a high enough mortgage for the ever-increasing property prices in the capital.
My daughter will be 18 this year – and all she has ever known is rented properties. She was born in to one and she will leave home while I still live in rented housing.
And unfortunately, she has had to move with me, every time a landlord or landlady decided they were going to allegedly hand a property to a relative, or when prices would be increased beyond acceptable levels, or properties sold.
This has not made for the stability I would have liked as a mother – but my small family is just one in thousands living the same existence.
I was one of a generation that believed, however ridiculous that might seem now, that if you worked hard – sacrificed time with your family to do that – you would gain by owning your own home one day.
The white picket fence was there, I just needed to reach out and keep working to get it…not so I am afraid.
All I do know is all those years worth of wages, mostly went to pay various other people’s mortgages – while my small family unit did not seem deserving, like so many, to be allowed a place on the property ladder.
I have to admit that at the age of 37 now, I cannot look back and say, wasn’t it worth it all…what parent truly wants to be able to say to their daughter, we have no home – we very likely will never have a home?
And while we are at it, “I’m sorry for not being round more.” I was working hard to pay the rent. All the rent. For all those years.
I guess it’s too late for me to provide a home for my daughter to grow up in….it won’t be too long before she is leaving home herself, I trust. I hope to go to university. I hope she will live in a fairer society by then. All we can do is hope it is easier for our children.
The reason I am speaking out today is because this Government has to recognise how far ordinary, hard working families are being pushed.
The message of work hard and gain is not one that is a reality in Ireland anymore. The gap between rich and poor is vast and it only seems to be increasing.
And if this Government is not very careful, Dublin city is soon going to become a capital where families can no longer afford to live.
While international business may be attracted to Dublin, who wants to live in a city where families are not welcome because they simply don’t have enough money to pay huge rents.
To me, a city that lives and breathes its people, nurtures its families and encourages them to socialise in it. Dublin is already lacking such an atmosphere.
If rent continues to increase beyond salary levels, beyond fairness, and if the dream of owning a family home continues to become an impossibility, then we will become a city without a heart.