Castleconnell housing crisis must be addressed in area plan

Limerick Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan at Castleconnell railway station.

RADICAL measures area needed to address the lack of new housing initiatives in the new Castleconnell Local Area Plan.

Speaking ahead of the deadline for submissions for the new Local Area Plan, Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan said that as things stand, there are plans for only five more units of public housing planned for the village.

“Apart from a requirement for five units out of a total of 52 new houses included for the extension of the Castlerock estate, there are no plans right now for additional public housing for the Castleconnell area,” he explained.

“Behind all the government hype, this is the stark reality facing people desperately waiting for years for the chance of a house.

“The new area plan needs to see a radical intervention by the council to ensure proper housing provision for the future. The extent of the crisis can be measured not just by the large number of people on the council waiting list for years, but also by the extortionate rents being charged locally.

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“Working families are paying up to €1,400 a month for substandard three bedroom houses in the village, leaving them with absolutely no chance of saving a deposit for a house of their own.

“The Council need to ensure they use existing land and if necessary purchase additional land or units to radically increase housing provision in the area. The ridiculously low income thresholds to qualify for public housing also needs to be increased by a substantial amount.

“Many families are caught in at trap whereby they earn too much to qualify for council housing, but earn too little to be able to save for a house of their own. This leaves them in the position of  facing a lifetime of paying extortionate rents and living in a constant state of insecurity,” Senator Gavan added.

In an extensive submission to the plan, Senator Gavan has also called for radically enhanced bus and train services for the village; the construction of bus shelters for commuters, and the completion of a comprehensive footpath and cycle lane network.

The deadline for submissions to the new Local Area Plan for Castleconnell is Monday, March 28.