Vacant City Council Houses 5th March 2014
-Councillor Catherine Connolly
Councillor Connolly said the number of vacant City Council Houses in Galway City remains unacceptably high at a figure of 78 which includes, one, two, three and four bed-roomed apartments and houses.
This level of empty occupancy in a City which has a Housing Waiting list of 3,610 Households some of whom are actually waiting up to 11 years on a housing waiting list on the West side of the City is nothing short of scandalous she said.
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 78 houses/apartments as of December 2013, some of them are vacant she said for periods between 3, 4 and 5 years and longer.
Indeed in the Claddagh area two houses remain empty since 2007 and 2008 awaiting major refurbishment works.
In this regard Councillor Connolly said over 2 years ago she inspected and welcomed the refurbishment plans for these properties in the Claddagh drawn up by a City Council architect at the time. The plans went on display and there were no objections. It was confirmed that the works were to go ahead but inexcusably works have still not commenced. Councillor Connolly said she has repeatedly raised this issue with the Housing Department and at a recent meeting of the City Council she was informed that funding more than likely would be available this year for the Claddagh Houses.
Amongst other empty houses causing difficulty and seriously reducing the amenity of the residential area is a four bedded property in Fana Burca which inexplicably has also been empty for some years.
Following pressure from herself and other local representatives however it has now been confirmed that this property will be refurbished which is a welcome development.
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.