Nearly €4m is to be spent refurbishing vacant local authority homes in Co Cork this year — in a bid to put a dent in the housing waiting list.
Cork County Council has decided to plough extra money into its housing maintenance programme and as a result has targeted a number of projects, including refurbishing 163 houses which have lain idle for quite some time.
Deputy county manager Declan Daly said the council would be putting an extra €2.23m into maintaining its housing stock this year, bringing its total outlay for 2014 to €6.355m.
Mr Daly said work on the 163 houses would be undertaken by contract work and through direct labour.
He added €1,445,217 has been set aside to upgrade houses which are occupied by tenants, while separately, work is to be carried out this year on making 531 of its properties more energy efficient.
The local authority carried out a similar programme last year, making 671 houses energy efficient.
Mr Daly said specific works would be done in certain areas to rectify problems with groups of council-owned houses.
These will take place at Innishmore, Ballincollig; Richmond Court, Bandon; Kildara Grove, Drimoleague; and The Rock, Castletownbere.
Mayor of County Cork Cllr Noel O’Connor (FG) welcomed the extra money being put into housing maintenance.
He said it was unacceptable in that 5,576 people were on the housing waiting list in the county while a number of properties had been lying idle for a considerable time.
He said the new programme would hopefully benefit some of those on the list.
“In addition, by opening up these houses it will bring in rental income which in turn can be used by the council for other similar works into the future,” Mr O’Connor said.
Before he retired as county manager last year, Martin Riordan signalled that he would be increasing rents and using the money to drastically improve the condition of older properties.
Mr O’Connor said council management were now implementing this strategy.
“I am also pleased that the energy efficiency works are continuing because it will reduce fuel bills for tenants.”
“The repair of vacant houses is also good on another level as it will provide much needed jobs to local contractors,” he pointed out.
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