Scandal of government failure to build social homes in Louth – Adams

Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the government’s plans for tackling the crisis in housing and homelessness as “woefully inadequate and incapable of providing the homes needed by the tens of thousands on the waiting list.”

Gerry Adams said:

“According to a report by Focus Ireland there were only 118 social housing units built in Louth in 2017. 25 of these were constructed by Louth County Council and 93 by approved housing bodies. At the same time there were 2,249 households designated as having a housing need. At this rate it would be almost 20 years before the last of those currently on the Louth list would be housed. Across the state there are tens of thousands of households on waiting lists that stand immune to an inadequate government housing strategy.

The cross party special Dáil Committee on Housing and Homelessness recommended that at least 10,000 units needed to be constructed by local authorities and approved housing bodies every year. This year the government plans to fund just 5,869 real social houses, This is down almost 500 on last year. We also know that only 780 social homes were built by local authorities 2017. At this rate there is little sign of hope for those on the waiting list in Louth.

The reality is that the government’s strategy is not working in Louth or across the state. The statistics are stark. Exactly two years ago when Rebuilding Ireland was launched by the government there were 6,525 people, including 2,348 children living in emergency accommodation. In May 2018 there were 9,846, including 3,826 children living in emergency accommodation. 

The government needs to go back to the drawing board. It must prioritise funding for local authorities who have a key role to play in ending the housing crisis.”
 

 

Imelda Munster criticises lack of social housing building in Louth, as council land banks lie idle.

imelda-munster-tdSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster TD has again raised the matter of council landbanks in County Louth in the Dáil. Questioning Damien English TD, Minister of State in the Department of Housing, she asked whether the Minister’s department had completed collating the data for the landbanks available for housing and criticised the lack of progress in delivering housing for the people of Louth.

Deputy Munster said:

“The situation in County Louth is shocking, and given the scale of the housing crisis I am sure that is replicated right across the State. There are almost 4,000 people on the housing waiting list in County Louth, many of whom have been waiting more than nine years to be housed. The number of applicants on the housing waiting lists exceeds the entire supply of council-owned housing stock in County Louth, which is a shocking statistic to bring to the attention of the House.”

“Meanwhile, there are 54 acres of council-zoned landbanks throughout the county on which Louth County Council pays €3 million a year in interest only for the loans. Citizens are deprived of vital services and amenities because the council must pay such an amount in interest, while the land lies idle and barren as not a single house has yet been built.”

Deputy Munster also criticised the government’s slow progress in rolling out a proper social housing scheme, 8 months on from the launch of the Rebuilding Ireland document.

Deputy Munster:

“We are now over eight months on from the launch of Rebuilding Ireland, and the government has still not completed the mapping of the local authority landbanks. This should have been completed a long time ago, long before the publication of Rebuilding Ireland. It beggars belief that in the middle of a housing crisis the Minister had not ascertained what land belonged to local authorities across the State.”

“The Minister of State indicated there are 26 different projects but only six are being done by the local authority. The rest are from public-private partnerships and approved housing bodies. With the six developments, there will be a total of 123 homes over the next two to three years. There are 4,000 people on the housing list.

“Of those 123 homes, 20 have an unknown date of completion, seven are regeneration projects and 24 come from the acquisition of vacant units. There are three renovations included in that figure.”

“The government seems to be saying that Louth should be happy enough with 123 houses, with only a certain number being newly built, over the next three to four years, in the middle of a housing emergency.”

“It is clear as a bell that the Government’s entire policy to solve the housing crisis is developer-led and developer-driven and completely ineffective”.

 

Housing Unit Turnaround Is Too Slow – Alan Cassidy

Alan CassidySinn Féin candidate for Drogheda Alan Cassidy has said that while on the campaign trail “around Drogheda and its environs, the number one issue that people are raising is housing.”

There are currently 98,000 people on local authority housing lists throughout the state with 4,345 of them in County Louth alone.

Cassidy continued “it is incredibly disheartening canvassing in an estate where there are boarded up houses. For example, in Laphin Park in Tullyallen, there is a four bedroom house that has been boarded up since mid-December. Why? Surely it could have been home to a family by now.”Alan Cassidy, from Tullyallen told of how “in one case Cllr Mathew Coogan and I called to a two bed-roomed house in Drogheda with ten people living there. They had taken the drastic step of temporarily partitioning the two bedrooms in an attempt to improve their families’ quality of life. We are not heading towards a housing crisis, we are already in a housing crisis. In Louth, housing applicants have to wait on average seven years for social housing. That’s a disgrace. The Local Authorities should spend money maintaining their own stock instead of wasting that money paying private landlords and the Rental Accommodation Scheme. Local Government have a responsibility to provide an adequate number of affordable homes.

“As revelations highlighted by Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Sharkey regarding the Housing Department in Louth unfold this week, one thing is clear, a radical and systematic overhaul of structures is necessary. “