THE crisis in social housing has been described as the “number one government issue”.
These were the words of Sligo County Council CEO Ciarán Hayes who was addressing members of the council at a special housing meeting on Monday.
At present, there are over 1,000 people on the housing list, awaiting housing in Sligo and the meeting was called by Sinn Féín Cllr Sean MacManus to address the issue.
The issue of housing for the council was described as ‘multifaceted’ for the local authority by Ciarán Hayes.
“The main priority [for the council] is to provide housing in the social housing sector. We also have an obligation to the private sector,” the CEO said.
Given the restrictions placed on the council both financially and in regard to resources, the CEO paid tribute to the ongoing work of the staff in the council.
“What we are delivering with the finance situation and the staff resources is extraordinary,” he said.
Cllr Sean MacManus said he believed that to tackle the issue, there would be a need for “political will”.
“The idea that the market will solve everything, the key pillar on which successive government policies have rested, has been shattered by the boom and subsequent bust,” he said.
One of the main concerns for Cllr MacManus in relation to Sligo was the number of empty council-owned properties.
“Another cause for concern locally is the number of vacant houses and apartments in County Sligo,” he said.
Currently, there are 95 vacant houses in the Sligo area. However, before they are approved for living, they have to go through several stages to ensure they are fit for puspose.
Bartley Gavin and Joe Murphy assured councillors through their presentation that those vacant houses would be “available for reallocation next year”.
Details on the new developments in housing and more on the vacant houses can be found in this week’s Sligo Weekender- in shops now.