Thursday 23 August 2007

Mayor blasts council over housing

DUBLIN city council is facing a call that it be stripped of its social house-building powers after new figures showed that it has built fewer than 1,000 homes in five years.

Despite the capital city being the epicentre of unprecedented housing demand, the local authority charged with alleviating the crisis has singularly failed, a Fianna Fail backbencher said last night.

Figures prepared by Dublin city council and seen by the Irish Independent reveal that the local authority built only 189 new units in the whole of last year for those on the housing list. At the same time it provided only 52 senior citizen units -- and was forced to buy 216 houses and apartments from private developers. In the five years since 2002, only 914 council homes have been built by the local authority under its social housing responsibilities.

At the same time there remain more than 5,000 on the city housing list, with thousands more not bothering even to register.

Last night former Dublin Mayor Michael Mulcahy said he believed the time had come to take house-building powers away from the city council and to vest them in the new Junior Minister for Housing, Batt O'Keeffe. "The figures revealed by the city manager are a disgrace," Mr Mulcahy said. "One developer could provide this level of housing with his eyes closed. Dublin city council has simply failed to put in place a comprehensive house building programme as it is obliged to do under the Housing Acts.

"The thousands on the housing list are just the tip of the iceberg," he added. "Thousands more would come on if they had any realistic prospect of accommodation. I personally know of cases such as eight people living in a two-bedroom house where a mother and two children will have been years on the list."

Irish Independent

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