29 September 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork South Central Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer has called for both Cork City and County councils to draw down the sizeable sums of money that has been allocated to them to tackle the housing crisis.
Deputy Buttimer’s calls came as he welcomed news that the Department is approving the provision of more funding to support the return of more vacant units to use by local authorities.
In welcoming the news which demonstrates the Government’s commitment to alleviate the housing issues and waiting time, Deputy Buttimer highlighted how over €5m had been allocated to the councils to support the return of vacant units (voids) for use but worryingly just a fraction of this money has been drawn down.
According to Deputy Buttimer as part of the 2015 allocation Cork County Council was allocated funding for 71 units and Cork City Council received an allocation for 122 units.
“Cork City has been allocated over €3.6 million but I understand from my enquiries that not one claim for a draw down has been processed. Despite this, the council has brought 41 houses back into use
“Meanwhile, Cork County was allocated over €1.4m. There has been draw down of claims for 30 units which the Department of Environment is currently processing.
“I sincerely hope, given the demand and shortage of housing in Cork and lengthy waiting lists, that these figures are as low as they are because the councils are in the middle of processing claims to the Department for vacant houses that they have brought back to use. There is no other reason why this funding should not be availed of to alleviate the housing issues for people in Cork.”
The current programme to support the return of vacant units to use by local authorities commenced in 2014. It is capped at €30,000 of Department funding per unit and directed at units where the cost of remediation exceeds the cost of the normal end-of-lease maintenance.