Coun­cil land banks need to be part of hous­ing so­lu­tion

The Argus - - NEWS -

‘ THE land banks held by Louth County Coun­cil need to be part of any hous­ing so­lu­tion by cen­tral gov­ern­ment’, says Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú.

‘Sinn Féin does not think much of Min­is­ter Eoghan Mur­phy’s de­flec­tive pro­pos­als to strip County Coun­cils of pow­ers to deal with emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion and our planned mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in him is well high­lighted.

‘ The gov­ern­ment’s idea of a Land De­vel­op­ment Agency would only be worth­while if ad­e­quately re­sourced and op­er­at­ing greater, more re­al­is­tic home build­ing tar­gets.

‘Many of these land banks were bought by Louth County Coun­cil for build­ing so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing, as was re­quired by the gov­ern­ment of the time. Not only are they not be­ing built on but to date Louth County Coun­cil’s fi­nances are be­ing stran­gled by pay­ing in­ter­est on loans on these lands. Next year the cost of this will be an es­ti­mated €1.5 mil­lion on loans of about €60 mil­lion.’ Cllr Ó Murchú de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as ‘ lu­di­crous’.

‘We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the peo­ple of Louth to en­sure their bud­gets are be­ing used prop­erly and ap­pro­pri­ately. Peo­ple are en­ti­tled to value for money and it’s un­jus­ti­fi­able to have over €1.5 mil­lion taken out of your bud­get be­fore you even start and have noth­ing to show for it.’

Louth County Coun­cil is also fac­ing the daunt­ing prospect at the end of the year of hav­ing to deal with the cap­i­tal el­e­ment of some of these loans.

Some of these land banks were pur­chased at the height of the boom and are worth a lot less now mak­ing it un­vi­able for the land to be sold off ac­cord­ing to Louth County Coun­cil. Coun­cil­lors were told at the re­cent Dun­dalk Mu­nic­i­pal District meet­ing in Carlingford that of the last batches of land bought by LCC were pur­chased for €1.3 mil­lion per acre. These same lands would be lucky to fetch €400,000 per acre in to­day’s mar­ket leav­ing LCC ‘on the hook’ for the out­stand­ing debt. LCC of­fi­cials stated they have used this sit­u­a­tion to force the is­sue with Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment and will con­tinue to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions to them.

The gov­ern­ment in tan­dem with Louth County Coun­cil needs to as­sess which lands are most suit­able for nec­es­sary home build­ing and to put plans in op­er­a­tion. If lands are not eco­nom­i­cally or any other way vi­able for hous­ing, they should be looked at from a point of view of IDA de­vel­op­ment or some other so­lu­tion

Mean­while com­ment­ing on the re­cent home­less fig­ures was party col­league, Gerry Adams TD pointed out that ‘ There are now more cit­i­zens home­less in this state than the com­bined pop­u­la­tions of Ardee, Castle­belling­ham, Dun­leer, Jenk­in­stown and Tullyallen’.

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has chal­lenged lo­cal TDs, ir­re­spec­tive of their party al­le­giance, to sup­port Sinn Féin’s mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the Hous­ing Min­is­ter Eoin Mur­phy when it comes be­fore the Dáil in the next few weeks.

The Sinn Féin Louth TD said: ‘ The gov­ern­ment’s hous­ing pol­icy, sup­ported by Fianna Fáil, is fail­ing the tens of thou­sands of house­holds on the wait­ing list, the al­most ten thou­sand men, women and chil­dren who are home­less, the many more who are pay­ing ex­or­bi­tant rents, and those who want to buy their own home.

Cllrs An­toin Wat­ters, Anne Camp­bell and Ruairí Ó Murchú at last week’s meet­ing of Dun­dalk Mu­nic­i­pal Area in Carlingford

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.