Kerry Council’s social housing policy labelled ‘a bit like China’

Kerry County Council has been warned it needs to accommodate larger families as its policy of building two-or three-bedroom homes is restricting the family size of young couples to just one child, “a bit like China”.

Kerry Council’s social housing policy labelled ‘a bit like China’

A meeting of the Killarney Municipal District was also told that while most long-standing demand is for one or two-bedroom houses, the council was finding it very difficult to find units to suit large families.

Families with a number of children were having to remain in two and three-bedroom houses with no hope of being granted permission to extend their homes.

All 20 houses to be built in the village of Rathmore, in its first major social housing development, are to be two-storey, two-bedroom units, the council meeting heard. The development is at planning stage and is set to start next April, while another 20 three-bedroom houses are also under way in Killarney Town.

Cllr Maura Healy-Rae (Ind) warned against a restrictive policy of two-bedroom social-housing units. She said at least some of the new units in Rathmore should have three bedrooms.

“Is it a bit like China that these people won’t be having kids or narrowed down to one child?” she asked housing officers.

Asked to elaborate, Ms Healy-Rae said building only two-bedroom homes suggested people planning families, or at least more than one child, were not being accommodated by the local authority.

“It’s suggesting they won’t be having any kids, or only one child,” she said.

Bigger families were not being catered for and she knew of several families in the Castleisland area where there were five or six children confined to two and three-bedroom houses and had been refused extensions.

Cllr Donal Grady (Ind) said he knew of a family of seven in Killarney where one person had to sleep on the sofa “and more on mattresses” because they were refused an extension or a transfer.

In all there were more than 100 applications for four or five-bedroom units across Kerry.

The council was told there are 1,339 applicants on the housing list in Killarney Municipal District, encompassing Killarney, Castleisland, and Rathmore — the vast majority of those on the lists were waiting for one or two-bedroom units.

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