Limerick mayoral hopeful says State bodies are holding back housing

Independent mayoral candidate Helen O'Donnell. Phoro: Diarmuid Greene

THE lack of housing is disadvantageous to the growth of employment in Limerick. That’s according to Independent mayoral candidate Helen O’Donnell.

Naming housing a lead issue if elected mayor on June 7, Ms O’Donnell vowed to ensure delivery of private, social, and affordable housing.

She outlined plans to work with the Housing Finance Agency and other housing bodies to ensure finance is secured for Limerick. Getting the necessary finance, she believes, is no issue.

“A mayor needs ambition and drive to deliver on housing, and I have both in abundance,” she said.

“Jobs across Limerick, both city and county, depend on housing delivery, so housing is one of my main goals in the role of mayor,” she explained.

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“To address the pressing issue of housing, I will immediately convene a Forum on Housing, one which will involve all stakeholders, such as developers who will sit down with our planners so all sides can overcome the impediments which prohibit building of houses.”

Ms O’Donnell said that she is “aware that the role of mayor is independent of the planning department, but there is nothing wrong with bringing heads together on an important issue such as housing.”

She also plans to engage with the Land Development Agency (LDA) to utilise State lands for housing in Limerick.

“As part of Limerick Twenty Thirty, I will work tirelessly with Limerick City and County Council and the LDA to drive growth in both social and affordable homes for the people of Limerick.”

Ms O’Donnell went on to claim that public bodies, namely the ESB and Uisce Éireann, are holding up home building in the private sector.

“These two key utilities are a large part of delays on delivery. There is planning permissions for around 4,000 units in the county and it’s about enablement at this stage.”