Fifty-five new social housing units will be built in the west of Galway city, following the granting of €11.65 million in Government funding, but a local TD says far more of this kind of accommodation is needed.
Confirmation of the funding comes following concerns that the project could be delayed. The new housing units will be built alongside 14 other units currently under construction on the Ballymoneen Road.
The funding has been welcomed by Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan, who said the 55 units were a "small step" towards tackling the phenomenon of "the dreadful sight of young children spending weeks and months in hotels and self-catering accommodation". However he said Galway "needs much more".
"Galway is in the middle of a perfect storm when it comes to housing," he said. "This is because of the collapse of the construction sector, a shortage of private housing, and the fact Fianna Fáil stopped building social housing. We have finally started to see a slight turnaround in these areas."
Dep Nolan is calling on the Galway city and county councils to advance planning for further housing projects, in order to avail of the €4 billion fund for social housing projects. He warned though, that "this money cannot be drawn down" if sites and plans are not put in place. "This must be done is a sustainable way," he said, "where communities of modest sizes are built with facilities to match."
Fianna Fáil Galway West candidate John Connolly, is highly critical of the Government's approach to social housing, saying it has "completely failed to take charge of the homelessness issue", and because of a "lack of concrete measures", the problem has now "turned into a national emergency".
“Fianna Fáil built 14,581 social housing units between 2007 and 2010," he said. "In contrast Fine Gael and Labour constructed just 1,252 units over the past five years. The abandonment of the social housing programme has led to a dramatic shortage of supply, which in turn is forcing up rents in the private sector. This Government has spent the past year scrambling to come up with a plan, but their reheated ideas are simply not delivering."