Department must ‘unblock’ routes to social housing in county Limerick

2004
Tom Neville TD

CALLS to free up idle homes in county Limerick to meet the needs social housing provisions have been made to the Ministers from the department of housing planning and local government.

In an address to the Dail this week, Fine Gael TD Tom Neville said that people in county Limerick were waiting up to 14 months for habitable homes to be released by the local authority.

“Some existing housing stock has already been purchased by the local authority, which is very welcome, but potential tenants are waiting a considerable amount of time for them to be upgraded or refurbished in order that they are habitable.

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The Fine Gael TD said that “people in County Limerick have been waiting for 12 or 14 months, especially where it is one house on its own in a country area but has been bundled in with a number of other houses, meaning it is left for a long period before it can be done up.

The address came in a Dail debate with Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy on additional funding being given to Limerick City and County Council for the provision of social housing in the event that the local authority exceeds the social housing delivery targets recently set for it.

Minister Murphy said that “local authorities have been notified of their targets for social housing delivery and in the case of Limerick City and County Council, {the target is} 1,365 units for the period 2018-2021.

“Limerick City and County Council has an ambitious pipeline of new social housing construction projects in place, including those it is leading itself and those being delivered in partnership with approved housing bodies.

Minister Murphy’s response went on to outline that there are approximately 770 new social homes in the local authority programme with the council is adding to this on an ongoing basis.

Minister Murphy said that under the repair and leasing scheme, Limerick City and County Council had received 66 applications, with six agreements to lease having been signed.

“There are more in the pipeline and €32 million has been secured in capital funding for the repair and leasing scheme in 2018”.

Outlining that the department will publish quarterly reviews, Minister Murphy said that “I am determined that local authorities meet their targets and the financial resources they need to do this are in place.

During the debate, Deputy Neville welcomed the initiative, particularly the quarterly review of targets, “but we need to make sure these targets are hit as we do not want hear about things not happening as they should. The target of 1,365 units between 2018 and 2021 is ambitious and, now that the funding is being provided, we need to have an element of stick in our approach to ensure such targets are met on time.

Deputy Neville asked Minister Murphy to investigate any regulatory blockages in the system that would free up these homes quicker.

“The houses have been lived in already and it may be that someone died there but they are sitting idle because of regulations. I would be grateful if the Minister could investigate this problem, which is specific to country areas.

 

The Dail debate was told that Minister of State, Damien English, has met the housing delivery team in Limerick and was impressed with the work being done.

Minister Murphy added that the department would do what it could to “unblock problems.”