SIR – Until now, Ireland’s economic success has been gauged by measuring the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is solely a measure of the Irish economy. ‘Wellbeing indicators’ would look at how Ireland is doing in a much broader way than simply our economic performance and, alongside existing economic tools, they provide an opportunity to create a well-rounded, holistic view of how our society is faring.
By measuring impacts on equality, climate action, the distribution of poverty, access to basic services and the long-term sustainability and security of current economic models, ‘wellbeing indicators’ ensure budgets and policies are focused on improving the lives of all Irish citizens.
How does this come into practice? Cork County Council has released statements this year on the increase in social housing provision, the costs involved, and projections into the years ahead. Does this tell the full story?
Not when tenants send us reports of waiting years for repairs or upgrades to be done to existing social houses. Bathroom windows that cannot be opened. Windows that buckle when the temperatures change. Extractors in kitchens that await repair. Emails and phone messages that are not answered. No dates for work given.
Is social housing just bricks and mortar? Is it just numbers to be released each year? What is the value of a house that is in disrepair?
This is not just about the quality of life for people in our community. It is also about how we value public assets and maintain them. It is about the quality of life that we afford to the people who benefit from public spending but spending is not enough.
We must deliver dignity and respect regardless of people’s circumstances. It may be fine for columnists like Archon to denigrate our policy but all over the world, there is a growing realisation that money is not the sole measure of how we live. And nor should it be.
For people who live in West Cork, we would hope that Cork County Council begins to change how it measures its own progress in delivering social housing.
Chairperson, Cork South West Green Party,