Updated: 24/03/17 : 08:08:44
During the meeting between Sligo County Council members and Minister for Housing Damien English last Monday Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Healy questioned the Minister about his commitment to tackle Sligo’s ongoing housing shortages.
“Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English met with Sligo County Council last Monday to discuss his Department’s implementation of their Action Plan for Housing (Rebuilding Ireland),” said Cllr Healy.
“Whilst of course I welcome the visit by this Minister and any other Minister to Sligo I feel that he has to be tackled about the lack of commitment to solving Sligo’s housing crisis and reducing the waiting lists. There is now a chronic shortage of social and affordable housing and a rise in the price of rental properties whilst increasing numbers of council houses remain boarded up.”
“The Minister did outline the HASP scheme,” continued Cllr Healy. “ Some aspects of this scheme are constructive but I explained to him my view that this is a short term solution to a long term problem. Tenants are only allowed to remain in these houses for a maximum of ten years. Surely we need to encourage and build social cohesion in our communities?
"Tenants are being disincentivised to involve themselves in their new communities, in social clubs, sporting organizations and community development as they may be leaving their houses after only two years. Stated government policy is to achieve a greater tenure and income mix in private housing estates.
"A simple and effective step in this direction would be for the government to introduce legislation allowing for a minimum 30% rate of social housing be included where semi-state commercial land is being sold for residential use.
“The Minister was receptive to ideas suggested to him, however currently their level of investment in housing is inadequate and they must use every tool at their disposal in order to increase the level of social and affordable housing.
"I wish to acknowledge the Minister’s commitment to provide funding to the Council to address some of the issues outlined to him as tackling the staffing issues in the council is essential if we are serious about delivering housing and getting boarded up housing open again.”