A DISCUSSION on a proposal to refurbish the Hyde Road flats ignited a heated row between Labour councillor Joe Leddin and Cian Prendiville of the Anti-Austerity Alliance at this month’s Metropolitan District meeting.
The proposal put before the councillors would see non-profit housing association Clúid fund and manage the refurbishment of the Hyde Road flats close to Colbert Station, while Limerick City and County Council would retain 100 per cent nomination rights for the units.
“I have no particular problem with Clúid, but I do have serious reservations about handing over responsibility from the Council to a private body,” commented Cllr Prendiville.
He added that the arrangement “creates another middle man” and “doesn’t have the same democratic accountability of the Council”.
Labour councillor Joe Leddin leapt to his feet, branded Cllr Prendiville “a bloody disgrace”, and said: “You can’t accept good news”.
Cllr Leddin added: “You’re not the Mayor and you never will be” and accused Cllr Prendiville of wanting people “to stay down so they can inflate your ego”.
The proposal, which will be put before the Council’s full November meeting, would see 20 two and three-bedroom apartments being made available by July 2016 for people on the Council’s social housing waiting list.
The cost of refurbishing the existing 28 units, which have been vacant for the last five years, has been estimated at €3 million.
According to the council, the existing flats are no longer fit for purpose and are in need of “substantial refurbishment”.
A report on the project presented to council members stated that the houses would be transferred to Clúid “to enable the organisation to secure finance for the redevelopment of the site”.
“Clúid will then undertake the works, making the units available to Limerick City and County Council for social housing under a payment and availability agreement.”
Under the agreement, Clúid will make the property available for social housing for a specific period in exchange for a percentage of the local market rent.
It will be a requirement that Clúid charge tenants rents calculated in accordance with the Council’s rent scheme.