Council allocates funds for housing loans to first time buyers

Fifteen loans approved to date

The Galway City Council has approved the raising of a loan of €1.5 million for the purpose of granting house purchase and improvement loans in Galway city.

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme will enable applicants who are first time buyers who have been refused finance from two commercial lending institutes an opportunity to purchase a home.

To date, the city council has received 61 home purchase loan applications, of which 15 have been approved.

Councillors welcomed that money was being made available for the purchasing of housing.

Sinn Féin councillor Mark Lohan queried how much of the loan would be left in the pot after €1.5 million was approved.

He also added; "It is important this scheme is open and transparent so no question can be asked on it."

Cllr Noel Larkin and Cllr Declan McDonnell questioned whether the timescale of an application being submitted and granted to the city council could be shortened in order for tenants not to miss out on their selected property.

Fianna Fáil councillor Ollie Crowe asked if an application was refused, to whom does an applicant appeal?

“Because you [the city council] cannot review an application, reject it, and then oversee the appeal."

Urgency

Responding to the councillors' questions, Dermot Mahon, senior executive officer, corporate services at the Galway City Council said: "The €1.5 million is an initial allocation from Department [of Housing, Planning, and Local Government] which we can go back and seek further funding and we expect to. There is no restriction.

"Of the 61 applicants, there are a number still in the system. There is not a closing date [on applications]. The value is €1.9 million of 15 loans approved so far, so we will have to go back to the Department."

On the speed of processing an application, Mr Mahon said: "We try to move as fast as possible. We are conscious of the timescale and there is an urgency to get the applications approved. We have tried to streamline the process and we have assigned additional staff."

He added there was an appeals process put in place and it would be the chief executive who would oversee it.

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