Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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Not wishing to go on about this but one of the main things that the first free state government was applauded for (and subsequent FF govts) was the clearance of these slums. Yes they were historic, but they were also rat infested pits of squalor, riddled with TB and vermin with often 20 families sharing the one house and wc. Poorly maintained, they were demolished before they fell down. Pre WWI Dublin was notorious in Europe as having slums second only to Calcutta – how far we fell from being second city in the empire.

To get a house of your own in one of the grand schemes like Marino, Crumlin or Cabra would have been an amazing change for the people who lived there and though they missed the sense of community that living that close together afforded, the change in health and life expectation was well worth the loss of some buildings. At the end of the day people’s lives are far more important, the buildings could not have been repaired by the state (who were broke anyway) so clearance was necessary. Amsterdam was once the capital of the Dutch empire, Dublin wasn’t even the capital of an independent Ireland until 1949. These houses were slums and not the houses of the merchantile class. To compare likle with like is wrong.

There are many great books about the decline of Dublin post the Act of Union and Kevin C. Kearns oral history books on Dublin Tenement life are a real eye opener

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