FEARS have been expressed that speculators may purchase houses from "affordable" schemes which Cork County Council plans to sell on the open market.
The local authority hopes to dispose of 42 houses, deemed affordable, in towns and villages in north Cork, as it has been unable to find buyers for them.
Some of the homes have remained unoccupied for over a year despite a significant marketing campaign.
The lack of take-up has left the cash-strapped council with millions of euro worth of houses it cannot shift. They were acquired through affordable housing schemes.
At a meeting in Mallow yesterday, council officials stated they will get auctioneers to value the houses before putting them on the open market, in the hope of getting the best price possible.
The houses are in Bweeng (10), Castlelyons (2), Charleville (2), Glanworth (6), Kanturk (6), Kilworth (1), Mallow (1), Millstreet (3) and Rathcormac (11).
Michael Cremin, a senior executive officer with the council, said the local authority couldn’t continue to carry the costs associated with the empty houses. He told councillors the council had decided to sell off the houses in areas deemed to be in less demand for affordable housing.
Cllr Tom Barry (FG) asked if the council would adopt a minimum price to ensure its costs were covered. He was informed that auctioneers would shortly value the houses and they would then be allocated a price tag.
"I wouldn’t put too much faith in auctioneers valuing these, seeing they got it so wrong in recent years," Cllr Barry said.
Cllr Noel McCarthy (Lab) maintained it would be hard to sell any houses in the present financial climate.
Assistant county manager Tim Lucey told councillors that officials would have to look at the offers made and decide if they were acceptable.