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Sep, 2010

It’s over. The Irish love affair with property ownership is coming to an end and in future people will rent rather than buy, according to a new book by Gerard O’Neill, the chairman of market research company, Amarach.

O’Neill, in an interview in The Sunday Independent, says the traditional snobbery and stigma associated with renting will disappear “faster than 100% mortgage offers”. The tome: 2016 – A New Proclamation for a New Generation, is filled with the kind of dark foreboding language so beloved of economists. Judging by the quotes in this article, the aftershocks from the current downturn will be seismic.

“This is not a storm that will pass, loosening a few slates on the roof. Rather, we are experiencing an earthquake that will transform key features of Ireland’s economic landscape beyond recognition,” O’Neill warns.

They will also be far-reaching, changing every aspect of society.

“If anything it is the Irish middle classes bearing the brunt of this recession, as they are the ones with the most debt and lifestyles typically geared to rely on both the incomes of working couples”.

And the emergence of rising middle-class secularism will create more a la carte catholics or what O’Neill calls “four wheel Christians”.

“We only come to church to be baptised in a pram, married in a limo and buried in a hearse!”

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