Measures To Stem The Housing Crisis Lag Behind The Need.

By Seamus Whelehan


Councillor Diarmaid O’Cadhla told the sitting of Cork County Council he is overwhelmed by people contacting him with issues relating to housing.
The Independent Cllr. requested the executive to convene a special meeting to discuss housing and rent in the county ahead of the authority’s November budget.
He said a new approach to tackle the housing emergency was essential which required the input of those directly affected by the crisis.
Cllr O’Cadhla who received the full backing of his fellow councillors said the authority “should be providing for direct investment in public housing as well as identifying existing council owned properties where public housing can be provided.”
The Irish language activist made his plea as the authority revealed it acquired just 10 new social houses this year for the entire county.
A further 102 units are in the planning stages which include 32 units in College Manor Cobh and 29 homes at An Faill, Cul Ard Carrigtwohill.
The local authority say they intend to deliver an additional 114 houses in 2018 and a further 216 in 2019.
Council Chief Executive Tim Lucy said he would agree to facilitate a discussion in September however he was confident the authority were hitting its targets set out by government.
He said even private developers were finding it difficult to “crank up” operations from a period of inactivity.
“From a starting point in 2014 to crank up any construction was going to take a number of years. You would see the same challenges in the private sector. The majority of housing construction will be delivered in 2018 and 2019 and beyond.”
Mr Lucey said the council will return 80 vacant properties this year through its voids programme.
The Government have approved a further €192million to progress a number of developments across the county, with €160million of that budget earmarked for social housing.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said what was being offered by Cllr O’Cadhla was practical solutions to the crisis which did not impact on current government policy and would not cost the council.
He said 57 acres of land in Cobh owned by the local authority for over 20 years could be developed but no sod has been turned.
Fianna Fail Cllr Frank O’Flynn said “it’s frightening for a county the size of Cork County only 10 homes have been delivered for 2017. A lot of those for 2017 / 2018 are aspirational because some are with planning and may not come through.”