20 New Social Housing Units in East Cork Vacant

By Seamus Whelehan

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Almost 70 new homes purchased by Cork County Council over the past three years remain vacant across the county.
Since 2015, 205 units have been purchased through the Councils Acquisitions programme, with many taking more than a year before they are occupied.
20 Units are currently unoccupied in the Cobh and East Cork Municipalities mostly 3 and 4 bedroom accommodations.
In the Cobh/ Glanmire Municipal district, there are seven unoccupied units, 1 in Riverstown Glanmire, 3 in Watergrasshill, 1 in Upper Glanmire, 2 in Cobh and 1 in Ballyvolane.
In the East Cork Municipal district 12 homes have not been tenanted, 7 in Youghal, 4 in Midleton and 1 in Ladysbridge.
The information was provided to full council on Monday 22 January, on the request of Sinn Féin Cllr Mellissa Mullane, who had sought a complete list of Housing Acquisitions purchased under the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Action Plan since 2015.
The council say that the majority of vacant houses relate to those purchased in the last three months of 2017, as some require upgrade works before they can be let out.
In 2017 Cork County Council missed its social housing target by 34 homes, as the local authority desperately look at ways to increase delivery of much needed properties.
Last year the council had a target to deliver 119 new acquisitions across the county, but only achieved 85.
In 2015, 27 new homes were purchased with a further 93 achieved in 2016.
Deputy CEO Declan Daly said while the Council may have missed its social housing target in 2017, the local authority exceeded its housing target through other measures, particularly through the Housing Payment Assistance Scheme (HAP).
Last year Cork County Council provided 1,293 homes through a measure of schemes and had a target of 1,217.
Many Cllrs claimed use of HAP was putting more public money into the hands of the private sector that could be spent by council on constructing its own houses.
At present the long-term housing waiting list in Cork County has broken the 7,000 mark, of those applicants 75% are waiting for a one or two bedroom property.
Despite this Cork County Council were only able to source 12, 2bedroom properties in the last three years, of those two were purchased in Youghal and are currently vacant.
Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus McGrath said “acquisitions are not a solution to the housing crisis. Council have been competing with first time buyers when we have been looking at purchasing certain units and I don’t think that’s an appropriate approach. We should be building units.”
Independent Cllr John Paul O’Shea said “It’s coming to crisis point where we have 75% of our housing applicants awaiting one or two bedroom properties and what we are building and what we are acquiring under the acquisition programme is not good enough.”
The Deputy Chief Executive said “in relation to two and one bedrooms the amount being built in Cork are very minimal.”
Despite Minister for housing Eoughan Murphy meeting with the local authority CEO’s this week to launch a new Council Mortgage scheme, the minister for housing was unable to tell the country’s 31 local authorities how many of the estimated 3,800 new builds he wanted them to acquire.
Cork County Council have set itself a target to acquire 70 units this year, however It’s understood the local authorities will receive their targets sometime in March.

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