Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government Simon Coveney, TD, visited Sligo on Friday 17th February to ‘turn the sod’ on the Fr O’Flanagan Housing Scheme.
The Minister was welcomed by the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Hubert Keaney, Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes, public representatives and members of the project team. The main contractors for the 22 unit scheme are Brendan Sammon (Aughnasheelin) Ltd. Ballinamore.
In his address, the Cathaoirleach said, "The development of the Fr O’Flanagan housing scheme is another ‘good news story’ for Sligo and I would like to commend each member of the project team for their expertise and commitment in bringing this scheme to fruition, and I also want to publicly acknowledge the valued assistance we had from the Minister’s Department at every stage of this process.
"Today’s ceremony is the latest in a series of excellent initiatives under Sligo County Council’s Housing programme. This is one of Sligo’s oldest communities, the people here have a great pride in their town, its history, its folklore, its people. It is a privilege to formally commence this development in one of the most scenic, historic settings in Sligo town.
"I would like to the members of the local community for their support and goodwill while this development was being planned. Indeed this engagement with the community we serve is a template we observe across all our service areas. The vibrant, positive community spirit we acknowledge here today is also the backdrop to Sligo’s designation of ‘European Capital of Volunteering 2017 "Assistance and support
Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes acknowledged the assistance and support of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, "Without whose help we wouldn’t be investing the money that we are currently investing in the Sligo community’.
He pointed out that ‘this development of 22 houses is part of 100 new housing units that Sligo County Council have in the pipeline, at various stages of approval. We are looking to bring these developments forward as quickly as possible with the assistance of the Department.’
In addition to this, Mr Hayes stated that, ‘the Council have renovated more than 107 units over the past 2 years, and purchased 110 units in the past 5 years which has brought €13m into the local community.’ ‘In an area close my own heart, that of energy efficiency, the council has upgraded in the region of 1,400 houses in terms of insulation." 'Change the pace'
Minister Coveney opened his address by stating ‘From my perspective, we are trying to dramatically change the pace in which we are delivering on housing needs. We are here today for a specific project of 22 extra units, which is part of a broader commitment to social housing right across Sligo.’
In relation to the this development, which the Minister recognised as ‘a very historic site’, he stated that ‘22 high quality two and three bedroom units would be put in place close to sports and amenity facilities in a very strategic and high quality part of the city.’ Minister Coveney concluded by assuring that the government ‘will continue to make bug developments like Cranmore, as well as this project and many others happen in the next number of months, not necessarily the next number of years.’
Work will commence on site on the 23 February 2017, the project programme is 20 months and will be completed in Q4 2018.