Limerick set to benefit from €68 million local authority investment


janosullivanLIMERICK city councillor Tom Shortt has welcomed a €450,000 allocation that will allow the local authority build three houses at the derelict Hassett’s Villas site in Thomondgate.

Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan this week launched a two-year €68 million local authority home building initiative and Cllr Shortt, said that the €450,000 allocation from the fund will help advance the Hassett’s Villas development.

He said that this would deliver on one of his main goals after being elected to the city council in 2009 and “reverse years of neglect”.

“Three new houses will be built on one side of the historic steps down to the river below Thomond House, providing new homes for three families,” he said.

“This comes on the heels of an announcement last January that €1.5 million was being allocated for an apartment block with 18 units of sheltered accommodation on the old Fitzgerald’s Glazing site, opposite Brown’s Quay,” he said.

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Launching the two-year €68 million local authority home building initiative, Minister O’Sullivan said the investment represented the first return to new mainstream local authority house building since the finance crisis began.

“Increasing both public and private housing supply is a priority for the Government and the €68 million investment will see some 442 new homes built across the country in the next two years. It an important investment but, with a very strong demand for social housing, I am of the view that more resources need to be invested in social housing over the coming years to expand supply,” she added.

Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan welcomed Minister O’Sullivan’s announcement but said it will do little to reduce the 3,738 on the housing lists in Limerick.

“Let’s hope many of the new houses will be built in Limerick providing much needed construction jobs and homes for those on our housing lists.

“Before the collapse, the state was building 4000 to 5000 social housing units a year. Right now, this government is building significantly less homes and housing need is much more severe. Over one billion euro has been cut from the housing budget since 2008 but those in need of social housing has more than doubled,”he explained.

“While the announcement is positive, it clearly isn’t enough. It is therefore essential that the Government explores new ideas which they have paid lip service to in the past such as social housing bonds and independent trusts being set up by local authorities,” Cllr. Quinlivan concluded.