Eoin Ó Broin
The housing crisis dominates Irish political, social and economic discourse, but for a system to be in crisis, we must assume that it was, at one point, functioning smoothly. In Home, Eoin Ó Broin brings us from the mid-19th century to the present day and poses an exhaustive and convincing argument that the Irish housing system has never really been fit for purpose.
Ó Broin’s lucid prose takes a potentially overwhelming century’s worth of data and presents the reader with a clear map leading to our current dysfunctional system. Throughout, Ó Broin draws on his experience as a public representative to ensure we are never allowed to forget the impact this dysfunction has on real people, be it the single mother waiting 11 years for a two-bedroom apartment or Travellers being forced into culturally inappropriate houses. These accounts are crucial as they ensure that Home never becomes a dry analysis of what is an essentially human issue.
Home forces us to think about who a functioning housing system should serve. As well as bringing this question into focus, the book succeeds in laying out a plan of action for those looking to work towards an alternative system. This makes Home a provocative read, as now that we have the map towards a better system, what will we do with it?
Words: Joe Joyce