‘Bit of loving care’ required for Limerick Council housing stock

Cllr Joe Leddin outside derelict houses at Byrne Avenue, Prospect in 2018.

LIMERICK City and County Council was asked to show “a bit of loving care” to its social housing stock this week.

At County Hall on Monday, the council was asked to appoint caretakers and introduce planned and periodic inspections of all local authority-owned housing developments to ensure that buildings do not deteriorate into an unacceptable state of disrepair.

Proposing the motion at the monthly meeting of the Metropolitan District, Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin called for action to be taken to keep council stock in good shape, while also resolving any outstanding housekeeping issues.

“We need to look after our developments, give them a bit of loving care.

“We have very good developments. An awful lot of these house the elderly and those with various forms of disabilities, so we need periodic reviews to clear footpaths of moss and weeds, to resolve the issues that are being neglected,” Cllr Leddin told the council executive.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“We are receiving significant rent from tenants and we need to give a little bit back. I have always supported social housing and we have a very good track record but we are falling down. We need ongoing periodic reviews and inspections to keep our properties in a good state of repair.”

Seconding the proposal, his Labour Party colleague Cllr Conor Sheehan said there has been a scaling back of services over the past decade or that they have been tendered out.

“When a problem is looked at, it has become a bigger problem than it was initially,” he pointed out.

Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely called for the council to “get their act together”.

“The management of schemes needs to be a factor. This is definitely going to become an issue. They are not managed properly,” she claimed.

Director of Housing Caroline Curley explained that the council has a system in place to address any maintenance issues and ensures that the dwellings are maintained in accordance with the Housing Regulations.

“Houses are inspected when a complaint is received and the deficiency is addressed,” Ms Curley said.

“We have a scheduled maintenance programme in place for the servicing and maintenance of all lifts, fire detection, alarm systems and emergency systems in apartment blocks.

Ms Curley pointed out that provision is not made in the 2023 budget for the periodic inspection of all council properties.

“However, in the ‘Housing for All’ plan, there is a commitment to introduce a planned housing maintenance programme for all local authorities. Limerick City and County Council will participate in this programme subject to funding.”