Promise to build new homes ‘disingenuous’

Promise to build new homes ‘disingenuous’
Cllr Thomas Gould with St Anne's mental homePicture: Eddie O'Hare

SINN Féin's Thomas Gould has hit out at the Housing Minister, describing his promises to deliver new homes as 'disingenuous.'

Mr Gould was responding to the launch of the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map.

The map identified more than 2,000 hectares of land suitable for housing, capable of delivering as many as 50,000 new builds nationwide.

Minister Simon Coveney said it would enable the state to bring housing projects forward 'as quickly as possible', though Mr Gould has cast doubt on the claims.

"These will be years away," he said.

"People on the housing waiting list hear 50,000 new homes and they think that maybe they might get one sooner. But these houses aren't going to be delivered any time soon and that just isn't fair."

While Mr Gould conceded that there have been some positive steps, he said that announcements are no comfort to those on the waiting list.

He said 'concrete figures and timelines' are needed.

"If these houses are developed then that is absolutely something to be welcomed. But I feel like we are talking two, three, four years for many of the projects, and even longer for others. The reality is that these announcements are getting people's hopes up without telling them the whole story. It is disingenuous."

While local authorities have made significant steps, including the announcement of several major new developments in Cork city, Mr Gould said there is a significant amount of work to do before the current housing shortage is rectified.

He said: "We are still waiting for the private sector to come on board. A lot of the government's housing strategy is dependent on the private sector matching the public commitment and developers have told us that this just isn't possible."

The Sinn Féin councillor called for greater powers for the local authorities to tackle the issues at hand.

"Cork City Council have done great work with what they have," Mr Gould said.

"But the reality is that they are restricted. There are caps on the rebates they get for houses they refurbish and the promises of funding for new staff were never fulfilled. We need architects, engineers and planners, but we have no money to pay them. The Minister made these promises and he hasn't come through with them and that is a problem."

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