A 15-unit social housing development in Cork has been lying vacant since its completion in January despite more than 700 expressions of interest in the homes.
The staggering level of interest in the council homes in Carrigaline emerged ahead of the first of a series of nationwide protests against the lifting of the eviction ban in Cork City on Saturday.
Renters facing eviction following the Government’s controversial decision to lift the ban at the end of this month will address the protest outside two long-term vacant warehouses at 7 to 9 Parnell Place, which were sold by Cork City Council to Tetrarch Capital in 2017.
The company said at the time that the property, which comprises two warehouse buildings and a neighbouring vacant site, is in a prime city centre location next to the city's main bus station and announced that it was working on plans to develop a “hip new urban budget hotel concept aimed at the millennial traveller”.
Despite a grant of planning in 2018 for the 160-bed project, no development has taken place and the buildings remain vacant. They are not listed on the city’s derelict sites register.
The decision to locate Saturday's protest outside the vacant warehouses was taken to highlight the scandal of the amount of vacant and derelict properties which litter our towns and cities against the backdrop of a housing crisis and an expected wave of evictions from April 1.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry, who is one of the organisers of the protest, urged people angry at the lifting of the eviction ban to take to the streets and make that anger felt.
"There are eight days to go before the eviction ban is lifted and the Government need to feel the pressure on every one of those days,” he said.
“The first major eviction ban protest since the Dáil vote is taking place in Cork on Saturday.
“It needs to be well supported and it needs to set an example to be followed across the State in the week coming up now.”
It will mark the start of what protest organisers said will be a wave of similar protests across the country over the next week.
Meanwhile, Cork County Council, which is responsible for allocating the social housing units in Carrigaline, said it is working through the paperwork to allocate the homes to suitable applicants as soon as possible.
“The properties were advertised on [the council's] Choice Based Letting in November 2022, in advance of the completion of the development,” said a spokesperson.
“There was considerable interest in these properties with over 700 expressions of interest received.
“Selection of suitable applicants is being finalised at present and the properties will be allocated shortly.”
As the council sifts through the applications, it will take several issues into account, including the person's waiting time on Cork County Council’s housing waiting list, family size, the type of property needed, and the category of need under the allocation scheme.
Selected applicants to whom housing offers are made must undergo an interview and Garda vetting.