'We have met every target' - Fingal Council hits back at Minister over housing

'We have met every target' - Fingal Council hits back at Minister over housing

The chief executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, has delivered a strong rebuke of Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy's threat to assume powers to deal with the homeless crisis.

Mr Reid, speaking at a meeting of the council, said he was “shocked and surprised” at Mr Murphy's comments, saying Fingal has met and surpassed every target set by central Government.

Mr Reid said he has received a lot of calls from concerned councillors since Mr Murphy launched his attack on their failure to deal with the crisis, but said he was keen to put on record the progress made by Fingal.

He told councillors that he has written to the minister, setting out his disquiet about the threat to remove powers from the council.

“I have argued that we should not lose powers but have more powers granted to us in order to deal with this” - Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid.

“This council is relentlessly focused on homeless and housing. We have met every target set by central government,” he said to warm applause from his councillors.

He said that the challenge is considerable, adding that 54 new families present for assistance every month and that some hubs take time to turn around.

He said at present there are less than 100 families in hotels.

At the meeting, Cllr Justin Sinnott said Mr Murphy's comments were “scraping the bottom of the barrel” and called on Mr Murphy to name specific failings by specific councils, rather than tarring all councils with the same brush.

Labour councillor Duncan Smith said the comments of Mr Murphy were disgraceful and Cllr Tania Doyle called on Mr Murphy to resign and said she was quite angry at his letter.

Mr Reid also pointed out that housing completions in Fingal are up by more than 70% year-on-year while there are currently 72 active sites which will deliver over 12,000 homes.

He said there is also planning permission for another 55 sites which he claimed will bring in around 5,000 more homes.

The chief executive pointed out that Fingal County Council has overseen a drawdown of more than €3.7m in Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans since the scheme started in February and was the first Local Authority to bring a project under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) to construction.

He said: "Fingal’s three LIHAF projects in Donabate, Swords and Baldoyle will deliver almost 7,000 mixed tenure homes between them."

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