Council Affairs: Councillor wants less of the bull

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

“AS useful as t*ts on a bull,” says Green Party councillor Seán Hartigan. A gas man he is altogether.

And it’s water off a duck’s back as far as Limerick City and County Council are concerned. They have had far worse slung at them during the course of local authority meetings.

But had Hartigan so riled up anyway?

Well, the City East representative proposed at this month’s Metropolitan District meetings that the local authority consider making available loan facilities to people who want to refurbish a home as their own residence under the Vacant Home Refurbishment Scheme. He was far from impressed with the council executive’s response.

Not a man to mince his words, Eamon Ryan could use some of his vim and vigour, let me tell you. He’s outstanding in his own field is Cllr Hartigan, regardless of what is on the chests of his cattle.

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“As useful as t*ts on a bull, the Green Party man reckoned the response was. He was as worked up as Miley from Glenroe when Biddy didn’t put on enough spuds for the supper.

And maybe the bigwigs at City Hall should have taken more heed of Muhammad Ali’s wise words: “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”

Best to stay schtum if you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of a local representative during election season when there’s headlines to be made and votes to be harvested. If you don’t have the right answer, say nothing at all.

Cllr Hartigan 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 (by up) to €20,000 in certain conditions. The grant is paid retrospectively,” the council rattled off.

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.

I can hear the copy and paste keys being caressed all the way from here.

The Greens can get down and dirty with the best of them and no better man than Hartigan to make hay when the sun shines. Before you could say Massey Ferguson, he was all fired up and had a valuable lesson for council management.

“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.

In fairness, the council is all about leaving the best until last, like the true professionals they are.

“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,” the reply concluded.

Cllr Hartigan was not impressed and it was clearly not a bumper crop at the council’s answers department.

“Did someone just decide, let’s fill a page with writing?” he asked. Never a man to miss the last word.