By Dan Walsh
“Housing is top of the list for 2022 and that’s a promise to the people of North Wexford,” Cllr Joe Sullivan told the members at the December meeting of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council held at Gorey Courthouse in line with Covid-19 guidelines. Cllr Pip Breen was in the Chair.
There were a serious discussion regards the current unsatisfactory housing situation in the Gorey-Kilmuckridge district with all members present united in the strongly held views that Wexford County Council’s role in housing is far from satisfactory and is calling for immediate urgent action on resolving the crisis.
Cllr Joe Sullivan expressed his sheer frustration and anger at trying to help two families in Gorey for the past two years. “I have no one to listen to me. The eldest child will be eighteen shortly and that child has never known what it is like to have a home. I have been dealing with that family for two years and I am getting nowhere. Is it me or is it the system? I don’t know,”
Cllr Andrew Bolger had checked earlier in the day and was informed that there were only two units in Gorey town. Cllr Bolger supported Cllr Sullivan and he was experiencing an analogous situation. So, too was Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin.
Cllr Mary Farrell said; “We are using words like horrendous, frustrated, distressed, heartbreak. It seems to be ongoing. When are we going to get to the end of this? Who makes the decision when families are in crisis? What are the criteria? Everyone deserves a roof over their head but there must be some guidelines as to how decisions are made. As a Council we have to do something about this!”
Cllr Donal Kenny agreed with his colleagues and the frustration that is out there, but he explained meeting up with colleagues from Carlow and Wicklow. “There are an awful lot of houses being built in Wicklow and they are happy enough, they are a year or two ahead of us. We all know we have sites, but we are not getting the shovel into the ground.”
Cllr Anthony Donohoe said he recognised the existence of hardship cases but did not question the staff criteria they are following to give out the houses. “The whole problem is we just don’t have enough houses. We are meeting our housing needs by buying turnkeys on the private market which is a completely distorted market that is displacing the young working couple – the young chap working in the tile centre and the girlfriend who is working in the deli – who cannot get off the Council’s list and are not earning enough to open a bank account
“We are driving up the private housing market on them by buying turnkeys. I would like to see us stop the practice of buying turnkeys, develop our own properties, develop our own lands, deliver our own houses, and leave the private market to the private market,” concluded Cllr Donohoe.