The Group Housing experiment has failed with some such houses left derelict or used as stables, and the scheme must be removed from the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme.
This is the view of Independent Galway City East councillor Terry O’Flaherty, who said group schemes are “no longer appropriate or cost effective”. She wants any reference to Group Housing Schemes removed from the Draft Traveller Accommodation 2014-2018, and she has submitted a notice of motion to this effect for next Monday’s city council meeting.
Cllr O’Flaherty is concerned by the state of a group housing scheme in the east-side of the city which consists of eight units; seven require major refurbishment, five have been boarded up for a number of years, and most of them have been vacant since 2009.
“These three-bedded bungalows were only constructed in 2001 at a high cost to the taxpayer,” she said. “It is disgraceful to see the condition these houses are now left in.”
A City Hall report in 2012 found two of the houses were being used as stables; there was illegal building to the rear of another house providing stable accommodation; and a third house was inaccessible due to illegal dumping.
The report estimated refurbishment costs at €86,453 per unit, excluding legal costs, compliance certification requirements, site boundary costs, and health and safety costs. The total refurbishment costs estimated for the seven houses, according to the report, was €747,000.
“Given this study took place two years ago and the history of projects exceeding budgets, we could be looking at a figure in excess of €1 million,” said Cllr O’Flaherty. “It is time the city council learned from its previous mistakes and not proceed with any further Group Housing Schemes.”