7 November 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

“We all acknowledge there is a housing crisis in Co Monaghan, and our housing section is under particular strain and pressure arising from people who are in danger of having their houses repossessed, or who have actually had them repossessed, by financial institutions.”

This was stated by the Sinn Féin Cathaoirleach of Monaghan Co Council Noel Keelan on Monday when the local authority held an in-depth discussion on housing provision in the county.

A report on the implementation of the 2015-2017 social housing strategy in Co Monaghan indicated that not only would the Government-set target of 205 units in the county be met, but would be exceeded by up to 60 additional dwellings should all the various provision options being pursued by the Council bear full fruit.

But this optimistic forecast didn’t mollify the concerns of some elected members about the inadequacy of the plan to address the approximately 1,300 applications for housing that the local authority is currently dealing with.

Fianna Fáil councillor Pádraig McNally voiced fears that the greater role – and funding – now being provided to voluntary housing organisations would lead to a situation where Co Councils would lose its traditional function in this area.

“We should reclaim our involvement in the whole area of housing provision,” Colr McNally declared. “It is important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that the biggest and best housing developments in this county were provided by ourselves. We are becoming too dependent on outside bodies.”

Chairperson of the Co Council’s SPC or Strategic Policy Committee on Housing Ciara McPhillips said at the outset of Monday’s presentation that it had come about as the result of a motion from Sinn Féin councillor Colm Carthy, and would show members how the Council was going to provide accommodation in line with the Government’s new Housing Strategy.

“Building new houses where there is town centre dereliction is something we should bear in mind,” Colr McPhillips urged, adding: “Our plans will not clear our waiting lists in full, but they are a good starting point.”

During the discussion, SF’s Sean Conlon said that substantial land banks, such as that in the possession of the HSE in Monaghan….

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