THE members of Clare County Council were yesterday accused of walking away from their responsibilities by refusing to participate in a regional housing strategy for the mid-west region.
Making the charge, the mayor of Limerick City, Cllr John Gilligan (Ind), said that councillors in Clare had turned their backs on 2,000 people on the housing list in the city.
Mr Gilligan was speaking yesterday after members of Clare County Council voted by an overwhelming majority for the council not to play any role in the new regional housing strategy.
“We can’t provide all the social housing for the 2,000 people within the city council area — that is what contributed to huge problems in the past.
“The Limerick city area is administered by three local authorities and now you have one council walking away pulling away one of the legs of the strategy,” he said.
Mr Gilligan described the approach by Clare councillors as “irresponsible”.
However, at Clare County Council’s adjourned September meeting on Monday, Cllr Tony Mulcahy (FG) said that Limerick City should sort out its own housing problems that it has created on its own.
At the meeting, councillors backed colleagues from the Shannon area who urged that the council “have no act, hand or part in the strategy”.
“Why has it taken until 2008 for Limerick City Council to discover that it has serious problems?
“We have our own social housing problems and we should have nothing to do with it,” said Mr Mulcahy.
Cllr Gerry Flynn (Ind) said that recently gardaí “armed to the teeth” have been in Shannon to deal with families that have been relocated to Shannon.
He said that the regional housing strategy has already been rejected by Shannon Town Council and councillors from the Shannon electoral area.
Cllr Paschal Fitzgerald (Lab) said Limerick City Council had purchased 17 houses on his doorstep.
“I’m getting calls at 3 o’clock in the morning and we’re the people getting the abuse,” he said.
Former mayor, Cllr Patricia McCarthy (Ind), said the regional housing strategy being put forward had been brought about by an abdication in responsibility by Limerick City Council.
She said: “We will have nothing to do with this strategy.
“If the Minister for the Environment wants to come to impose this on us, let’s see if he has the guts to come before us and answer our questions.”
One of the few councillors to speak in favour of the strategy, Cllr Brian Meaney (Green), asked: “How many houses have we provided in the environs of Limerick City because it is my belief that Clare County Council and Limerick County Council have provided no social housing in this area.”