A new approach needed to tackle Limerick housing crisis

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Cllr Maurice Quinlivan
Cllr Maurice Quinlivan

A CALL by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) for a €500 million investment programme for social housing and growth has been welcomed as “a good start to tackling the massive housing crisis in Limerick”.

The ESRI made the call for funds in their 2015 budget submission, and Limerick City North councillor Maurice Quinlivan maintains that it would not only help deliver “decent, stable accommodation”, but would also put thousands of people back to work.

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“A huge amount of people on the Live Register have construction experience and this investment has the potential to deliver real jobs in Limerick,” he said.

According to Cllr Quinlivan, Limerick has a huge housing crisis with high numbers in mortgage arrears, rents rising out of control, a complete lack of social housing and escalating homelessness. This situation, he insists, is a direct consequence of not only austerity but lack of government policy and slow reaction.

“This housing crisis is a tsunami of bad policy, austerity and undelivered commitments from Government. While this proposal from the ESRI has the potential to make a real impact on the issue of housing and unemployment, it is only a good start,” he said.

In its 2015 budget submission, Sinn Féin has called for a €1 billion investment in social housing stock to deliver homes and jobs.

“These two proposals from the ESRI and Sinn Féin need to be delivered as a priority as the Government cannot ignore the housing crisis any longer,” Cllr Quinlivan concluded.

Meanwhile, Novas Initiatives, the largest provider of homeless services in the Mid-West, has welcomed the proposal by the ESRI to invest in social housing. Head of Novas’ homeless services, Anne Cronin, believes such an investment would make positive inroads into the housing crisis both locally and nationally.

“One of the greatest barriers, experienced by Novas, from moving people on from temporary homeless accommodation is the utter lack of affordable, adequate housing in the private rented market. We are faced with the same problems when seeking to accommodate families presenting to our Intensive Family Support service, with the consequences even more devastating as children are becoming effected by the crisis.

“A dedicated building programme to support marginalised groups excluded from private rented accommodation would in the long term improve the situation significantly. However, we also need more immediate measures to be developed in tandem,” she said.