Council response on vacant home refurbishment scheme ‘as useful as t*ts on a bull’, councillor says

Limerick Green Party councillor Séan Hartigan.

GREEN Party councillor Seán Hartigan deemed a local authority reply to a motion he proposed at the recent Metropolitan District meeting “as useful as tits on a bull”.

Cllr Hartigan proposed that the local authority considers making available loan facilities to people who to refurbish a house as their own residence under the Vacant Home Refurbishment Scheme.

He was informed by the council’s Housing Support Services that the payment is for those turning a vacant building into a permanent home or rental property, after the building has been vacant for at least two years.

“The grant is €50,000, which is subject to eligibility criteria and can be topped up to €20,000 in certain conditions. The grant is paid retrospectively,” the council explained.

The Local Authority Home Loan (LAHL), aimed at first-time buyers, Cllr Hartigan was told, was launched in January 2022 to replace the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme.

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“It is made available to eligible applicants who wish to purchase a new or secondhand house or self-build. Prior to proceeding to loan draw down, a property is subject to an engineering inspection by a council engineer who, based upon the inspection, will recommend final loan approval or not,” the council response continued.

Cllr Hartigan was not impressed.

“Thanks for telling me what I know already. I was thinking as I was getting the reply that it was as useful as t*ts on a bull until it got to the last line,” he said.

The last line of the local authority statement read: “There is early stage departmental level consideration being given to extending the Local Authority Home Loan (LAHL) to people looking to finance the purchase and renovation of derelict or non-habitable properties.”

Cllr Hartigan deemed the council’s response as a case of “let’s fill a page with writing”.