It’s been described as “an absolute disgrace” that nearly 7,000 people are on the waiting list for houses in Co Cork, yet 600 Nama-owned homes and 163 apartments are lying idle.
Sinn Féin leader on the county council, Cllr Des O’Grady, said it was scandalous that such a situation had arisen and something needed to be urgently done about it.
“Cork County Council officials have been in discussion with Nama since 2012 and not one vacant house has so far been made available to the council.
“There are currently 6,974 families on the waiting list. This is an absolute disgrace at a time when so many families are crying out in despair for social housing,” he said.
He made his comments after having requested a list of unoccupied yet finished properties from senior council officials.
Cllr O’Grady said it was also “very disturbing” that many families were condemned to live in 138 unfinished estates dotted around the county.
“I am calling on the Government and the council to co-operate and fast-track a strategy that will immediately begin the transfer of these vacant units to the council for letting to families on the housing list,” said Cllr O’Grady.
He said it was also unacceptable that nearly 5,500 families, who bought their houses in good faith and expected to raise their children in a pleasant environment, are living in substandard, unfinished estates.
“They have suffered a loss of value to their houses, and it must be soul-destroying for them to live on a daily basis with a lack of expected facilities such as public lighting, proper roads and footpaths and green spaces and also to suffer deficient waste water treatment plants in many instances,” he said.
“The Government needs to also act immediately on behalf of these families and indeed the thousands more in similar situations throughout the State.”
The biggest number of houses vacant in any area were to be found in Midleton, where two estates at Knockgriffen and Ballinacurra had 60 properties.
There are also 33 vacant homes at Rooskagh Valley, Shanagarry; 27 at Newmarket Road, Kanturk; and a further 21 at Carrignafoy, Cobh.
Chief executive Tim Lucey said the council had got approval from the Department of Environment to spend €21.53m on 110 social housing units.
He said 48 would be built at Kilnagleary, Carrigaline; 45 at Beechgrove, Clonakilty; 10 at Oliver Plunkett Hill, Fermoy and a further seven at Masseytown, Macroom.
Mr Lucey said discussions were also ongoing with the city council to a joint approach on new housing as the latter didn’t have the necessary land available for some projects.
Cllr O’Grady said while he welcomed Mr Lucey’s report it will take three years before any of those houses come on stream.
‘Absolute disgrace’ that 600 Nama houses and 163 apartments are empty in Co Cork despite housing crisis
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