Councillors approve €40m loan to help fast-track affordable homes in Cork city 

Councillors approve €40m loan to help fast-track affordable homes in Cork city 

Speaking at this week's full council meeting, the city’s assistant chief executive Brian Geaney said there is an urgent need for the council to start delivering affordable homes "at pace". Picture Denis Minihane.

CORK City Council is to borrow a sum not exceeding €40m to be used as a bridging facility in the delivery of affordable homes in the city.

Speaking at this week's full council meeting, the city’s assistant chief executive Brian Geaney said there is an urgent need for the council to start delivering affordable homes "at pace".

"Certainly, substantial progress has been made in the delivery of social housing over the last number of years and we now want to put this facility in place to accelerate the delivery of affordable homes for the people of Cork," he said.

The bridging facility is to be ring-fenced for the sole purpose as a working facility for the council to proceed with the delivery of affordable homes.

It will be used to fund site acquisition, stage payments to contractors or service providers and other purposes deemed necessary by Cork City Council to facilitate the delivery of such homes. 

The bridging facility will be "repaid and replenished by income from home sales and various government affordable housing supports," a report to councillors stated.

Cork City Councillors will be consulted on "the detailed works and locations where the facility is being used to facilitate the delivery of affordable homes across the city," the report continued. 

The initiative stemmed from a motion submitted several months ago by the Fianna Fáil group leader in Cork City Council, Councillor Seán Martin.

"We have an opportunity in our small way of actually allowing people to purchase affordable houses," he said.

Mr Martin thanked management at Cork City Council for "coming up with solutions, rather than putting up barriers".

His party colleague, Colm Kelleher, praised the initiative which he said coupled with Minister Darragh O'Brien's housing legislation currently before the houses of the Oireachtas, will enable Cork City Council to "lead from the front" in delivering affordable homes. 

"When the legislation is passed at a national level, we will be out of the traps ahead of most local authorities. 

"I do feel that what’s being done here tonight in relation to the bridging facility will enable us to strike while the iron is hot and deliver these houses for people that are caught in the middle," he said.

Fine Gael councillor Shane O'Callaghan also welcomed the proposal as a "fantastic initiative by Cork City Council to show that Cork City Council is leading the way in terms of affordable housing". 

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