Siptu objects to house leases to charities

Pressure is mounting on a local authority to scrap plans to lease vacant council houses to housing charities after Siptu opposed the move last night.

It is the third trade union to speak out against Cork City Council’s proposal, which is being considered against the backdrop of rising vacant housing figures, and reduced housing maintenance funds.

Siptu said that retaining social housing stock under the control of local authority is in the best interests of tenants.

“Cork City Council and its staff have provided a high-quality social housing service for generations,” said Siptu organiser Con Casey.

“As with other services, such as waste management and driving licence processing, which have been transferred to private suppliers, this move to privatise social housing will have a very detrimental effect on the service provided.”

The council has a total of 8,726 houses, with 305 vacant dwellings awaiting maintenance.

It emerged earlier this month that City Hall is considering leasing out as many as 70 council houses to voluntary housing agencies.

There are also plans to sell a handful of vacant homes privately and plough the sale proceeds back into housing maintenance.

The plasterers’ union, OPATSI, first raised concerns about the lease and sale proposals earlier this month.

Impact spoke out last week, and with Siptu now speaking out, city officials are facing mounting opposition to the plan.

“Cork City Council staff have decades of experience and understanding of social housing provision,” said Mr Casey.

“What is lacking is the provision of adequate funds to ensure the service is delivered to the high standard that staff want to achieve.”

Siptu backed a call from OPATSI and Impact for more central government funding to do the repairs.

Mr Casey also urged the council to explore the option of accessing a loan to fund the repairs.

The council could use rental income from the repaired homes to repay such a loan, he said.


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