Good news re empty City Council Houses in the Claddagh but latest Quarterly Housing Report from the City Council confirms that Housing Situation in Galway continues to worsen necessitating urgent intervention by the Government.
Vacant City Council Houses 14th April 2014
-Councillor Catherine Connolly welcomes confirmation that after remaining vacant for approximately 7 years, two empty houses in the Claddagh to be refurbished beginning this month.
Councillor Connolly said she welcomes the slight progress made in reducing the number of vacant City Council Houses in Galway and particularly the confirmation that the two empty houses in Claddagh will be refurbished beginning in April. However the latest figure of 74 empty City Council houses albeit down from 78 remains unacceptably high she said.
The most up to date Quarterly Housing Report from the City Council Housing Department confirms this level of empty occupancy in a City which has a Housing Waiting list of 3,619 Households some of whom are actually waiting up to 12 years on a housing waiting list on the West side of the City.
While major refurbishment is required on a number of empty houses no adequate explanation has ever been given for why other empty houses cannot be turned over and re-let in a matter of weeks or why money has not been made available for the major refurbishment required.
On the vacant housing list of 74 houses/apartments as of March 2014, some of them are vacant she said for periods between 3, 4, 5 years with a two houses empty in the Claddagh since 2007 and 2008 awaiting major refurbishment works.
Moreover as well as reducing the amenity of the residential area where the vacant houses are located there is also the added dimension of loss of much needed rent income to the City Council.
It has now been confirmed however that funding has been made available to refurbish she empty houses at St Ignatius Tce and St Nicholas Rd in the Claddagh.
Councillor Connolly said it is very positive news that these much needed houses are to be refurbished beginning this Month.
It is also welcome news she said that 13 new Council units are to go ahead on the Ballymoneen Rd but given that 3,619 households are on the waiting list which equates to over 10,000 people at a conservative estimate, 13 units remain a drop in the ocean and the housing situation is at crisis point.
In general she said empty houses should be turned over in a matter of weeks and she has repeatedly asked the City Manager to take a hands-on approach and sort this matter out once and for all by assigning a specific housing maintenance crew to deal with vacant houses.
Separately there has to be a commitment by Government to an imaginative and sustainable building construction program in order to furnish homes for our people.
Simply relying on the ‘market’ to provide is not a solution to the housing crisis she said and indeed the inadequacy of housing supply in Galway together with rising waiting lists is fuelling an unsustainable market situation which is compounded by rising rents in the private sector.