LIMERICK City and County Council’s current social housing maintenance and allocation system is “not fit for purpose”.
That was the view of Fine Gael councillor Liam Galvin who proposed this week that the responsibility for the maintenance and allocation of Council-owned property in the Newcastle West area be returned to the municipal district.
The motion was supported by the Mayor Francis Foley (FF), Cllr Jerome Scanlan (IND), and Cllrs John Sheahan and Tom Ruddle (FG).
“We need to sit down and revamp it and come up with a better system. Not only has the wheel come off the buggy but the spare wheel has come off it as well. It is not fit for purpose,” Cllr Galvin declared.
According to Independent councillor Jerome Scanlan, there was a splendid service when it was previously managed at local level.
“That is not the case now. It is an embarrassment to the community and the Tidy Towns Committee.
“We need to get real here. We have to keep it local and work from the inside out,” he said.
Council Chief Executive Pat Daly told council members that any operational issues can be looked at as part of a review.
A response from the local authority on the matter explained that the maintenance of Council housing is carried out on a district basis while the allocation of houses is carried out on a centralised basis.
“It is not recommended to change this operational method.”
Cllr Galvin was far from impressed with the Council’s response, to the point of considering withdrawing from the local authority.
“We are falling well short of the standards I was brought up with. This is a failure to all of us,” he insisted.
Director of Services for Housing, Caroline Curley asked council members to bear with the local authority.
“I agree that there is too many vacant houses and we are trying to find the finances. Bare with us. By the end of the year you will see a difference,” she assured councillors.
Council Chief Executive Pat Daly reminded councillors that we are in the middle of a housing crisis.
“We are all frustrated, but we are all doing our best. Give us a little bit of time,” he pleaded.