The following was contributed by someone known to me who is a Canadian working in Galway, who is now at a point where they feel priced out and have no option but to leave.
I thought it provided a little context and colour to what both Sharon Nolan of the Social Democrats and Joe Loughnane of People Before Profit were talking to me about this week in terms of housing prices and the break down of communities.
If you do not use your vote today, then it will not just be my Canadian friend saying goodbye to Galway. It will be you, it will be me, it will be many of us who no longer recognise an already much-changed city and/or are forced to leave.
Not voting, or voting for the status quo, will lead to use saying goodbye to community as housing prices soar, landlords abuse of their tenants, and Air BnB turns the town into simply a weekend getaway or summer holiday.
Not voting, or voting for the status quo, will mean continued theft of public land for private money.
Not voting, or voting for the status quo, will mean you continue to be unequipped to help reverse climate change.
Not voting, or voting for the status quo, will mean you are saying you are choosing big business and corporate interest over people and the community’s welfare.
Please don’t sell Ireland off to the highest bidder.
Here’s the letter:
We worked hard: working full time, graduating with honours in our degrees, and job hopping up the career ladder. We got the less than adequate pay-raise (not even a cost of living increase), lack of cost of living increments while landlords increased the rent 4% because they “had to” because of the rent pressure zone.
We even went so far as walking up to banks looking to tie ourselves to any driftwood that would hold us to your beautiful shores.
But alas, while you can spend 12-15k a year renting, god forbid you try to put that into actually buying a property. Between secret policies of not accepting applications where both partners make less than 30k, and the fact that it is simply just totally impossible to save – we are forced to go.
Your shores, your spaces, your vast open fields, the closeness with nature that one feels. Those will be the things we miss.
We won’t miss the gridlock traffic, rivalled only by mega cities, we won’t miss the love hate relationship the council has with art displays, we won’t miss the steady gouging of our cash in small incremental fees (I’m looking at you Sunday parking). No sadly Galway, after so much energy and love put into you, it looks like there wasn’t a bit of nurturing handed back.
I hope in good time the people learn to love their city, regain the space and make it more than a one-trick town catering only to tourists; the bore of the same nights out on repeat : what does one do if not drink?
It’s been a pleasure but no longer are you for me, m’dear.
Maybe one day, I too, will enjoy you Galway.
As a tourist.
– Anonymous Canadian