Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has said that the proposed Land Development Agency is a case of ‘the Government reverting to mistakes of the past, where the housing market is Private Developer Led and Private Developer Driven.’
Deputy Munster said:
This latest stunt highlights the government’s point blank refusal to provide funding for the roll out of a proper social and affordable house building programme. As Fine Gael and Minister Murphy give ‘state owned lands’ to private developers telling them that they only have to provide a mere 10% for social housing, there are almost 100,000 people on the social housing waiting list nationwide as well as all those who will never be in a position to own their own home.
In Louth alone there are 4112 families on the housing list many of whom have been waiting for upwards of a decade to be housed. Meanwhile the government has consistently refused to fund Louth County Council to enable them to build social housing on the 50 acres of council owned land banks held throughout the county.
And who will the proposed 30% in affordable homes serve? It certainly won’t be the 50% of our population who earn less than €28,000 per annum. The price of an affordable home was put forward yesterday as being in the region of €320,000 meaning that the purchaser will need to have €32,000 in savings for the deposit before they start; then they will have to follow that up with a mortgage of €288,000 for which they will need to be earning a minimum of €82,000 per annum in order to afford an ‘affordable home’.
The Housing crisis will never be solved by this government. Instead they are reverting to mistakes of the past where the housing market is private developer led and private developer driven. They are ideologically opposed to funding the building of social and affordable housing.
Local Authorities should be funded to develop the sites and council owned land banks to build social housing, affordable rental and affordable homes.
That’s the only way to tackle the housing crisis.
Imelda on the unused land
Councillor Imelda Munster has called on the Government and Alan Kelly, Minister For Environment, Community and Local Government, to immediately roll out a social housing building programme for Drogheda and Louth.
Speaking today, the Sinn Féin councillor said “We have a land bank in Drogheda reserved for social housing and we have 1812 applicants in Drogheda alone with a total of 4525 applicants throughout the county, some of them waiting up to seven years for housing. This land bank was purchased as part of the Northern Environs Plan to ensure we had land reserved to build social housing on and we are currently forced to pay €2 million of tax payer’s money every year in interest only on this land.”
Cllr Imelda Munster is Chair of the Housing SPC and has twice requested that Louth County Council write to the Minister inviting him to meet with the Council to address the issue but to date, the Minister has not responded.
Cllr Munster continued “This is a crisis situation as the money has to be taken out of our council budget and will have to be paid each year for the next twenty five years. Yet the government are refusing to build houses on the land while the numbers on the housing list increase on a weekly basis.”
The Drogheda Councillor wants to ask the Minister if he will address “the ludicrous situation of Louth County Council being forced to pay upwards on €3 million a year in interest only payments from our own budget on a government loan which we were given to purchase the land specifically for social housing and at the same time they are refusing to build houses on the land. This just isn’t good enough. The people of Louth deserve accountability as to how their budgets are being used and to have nearly €3 million taken out of it before you start yet have nothing to show for it needs to be addressed.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Edel Corrigan has welcomed the news that land between Lennon Melia and Coulter Place is to be secured.
Cllr Corrigan said today “this unsecured land has contributed to anti-social issues in the area. I have been in correspondence with the Planning Enforcement Staff Officer since receiving complaints from residents and yesterday I was informed the developer had ‘advised that he will within the next couple of weeks try and secure some workers to carry out the necessary work’.”
Edel Corrigan continued “this will be a relief for those living nearby, as this area has been a gathering place for anti-social elements and has been a matter of grave concern for a lengthy period of time.”
Lennon Melia and Coulter Place are situated in the Armagh Road area of the town.