by Alan Jacques
WITH 4,681 people currently on the housing list in Limerick, the Government’s new social housing construction programme, which will see 110 local authority homes built in the first phase, barely takes the tip off the iceberg in dealing with the problem.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil spokesperson for social protection, Willie O’Dea. The Limerick TD is now concerned that the latest housing plan announced by Environment Minister Alan Kelly is just a rehash of plans launched last November, which, he claims, have still not resulted in one single new home in Limerick.
Some 110 local authority housing units at a cost of more than €19 million are to be built in Limerick during the first phase of the new social housing construction programme. The move is part of the first phase of direct-builds under a €312 million social housing strategy.
However, Deputy O’Dea insists that the social housing spend has been slashed and no house built in Limerick in the last three years. He has warned the Government against yet another PR stunt that makes absolutely no difference to the 4,681 families in need of a home in Limerick.
“The 4,681 families on social housing waiting lists in Limerick have heard all these promises before from the Government. But despite launches, relaunches and a litany of promises from the Minister, not one new home has yet been built in Limerick. Not a single dent has been made in the housing crisis that has been left to escalate completely and utterly out of control,” the Limerick TD claimed.
“The Government has been systematically cutting the money available for social housing over the last four years. Now with just months to go to an election, Fine Gael and Labour are suddenly waking up to the crisis that they have created. Grant money provided to councils for social housing units was slashed from almost €115 million in 2012 to just over €80 million last year. There have been no new builds of Social Housing units in Limerick city in the last three years,” said Deputy O’Dea.
He went on to accuse the Government of reneging on every single promise it has made to families who desperately need a home.
“None of the houses promised by Minister Kelly will be built before the next election, so once again home seekers in Limerick and elsewhere are expected to just take the Minister on his word”, he added.