Local authority houses fall into disrepair as cuts bite

DAMPNESS, dangerous wiring, inadequate insulation and plumbing.

These are just some of the problems facing local authority tenants as winter approaches, it has been claimed, and with little to spare in council coffers, there are serious concerns that essential works will not be carried out.

Fine Gael councillor Emmet O’Halloran, chairman of Cork City Council’s housing committee, has warned that the effects of cuts to local authority budgets are now been seen on the front line, with many properties around the city falling into disrepair.

Mr O’Halloran is proposing a Niall Mellon style building initiative to help overcome the problem.

“In a situation where a tenant of a local authority property has the skills to undertake much of the work themselves reward could be given by means of rent credit,” he said.

“This would be a far more cost effective way for the council to undertake this work and it would also tap into the countless number of tradesmen that are currently unemployed throughout Cork.”

Tenant Esther O’Neill, said she has been waiting for years for the council to treat a serious damp problem.

“We have had so many promises but nothing ever happens. They came out and looked at it and said they would do the work but never did,” she said. “We have given up at this stage.”

Mr O’Halloran blamed cuts to staffing levels for the fall-off in repairs.

“Extraordinary times mean that we need to be bold and radical in how we think and work. Ultimately tenants of social housing have a right to live in the same safe conditions to that of private tenant and I believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that this is the case,” he added.

Meanwhile local authority tenants in south Dublin are claiming they are living in sub-standard conditions.

Marian Rice, who has organised several petitions to lobby the council, said at least 30 houses in her estate have rotting windows which the council are refusing to replace.

“The windows are literally falling apart and some people are having to use tape to keep them together.”

Ms Rice said the council have been promising to fix them for some time.

“They said they would come out last summer, then it was Christmas and then it was this summer. They are just trying to fob us off,” she said.

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