The announcement by the Government to set up a taskforce is evidence the Galway City Council has failed abysmally to deliver public and affordable housing according to Cllr Colette Connolly.
Cllr Connolly said successive governments have starved the local authority of funding to provide for direct build local authority housing schemes along with the moratorium on staff recruitment which has had adverse consequences for the planning and delivery of housing schemes.
Cllr Connolly said; “For too long successive governments have relied on the private market to meet housing needs, which has proven a dismal failure, affording little or no hope to the 4,027 households on the housing waiting list (HWL 15/10/2018 ). Yet, this Government continues to pursue this policy in rolling out the HAP scheme, which was introduced in Galway city in 2016, with more than 1,385 households now in receipt of HAP, which offers no security of tenure for families.
“Any taskforce genuinely willing to seek to tackle the lack of public and affordable housing in Galway city will need to address in the first instance the insufficient landbank in GCC ownership. The existing 22ha zoned residential is only sufficient to reach targets up to 2021. This gives an immediacy to the problem of land acquisition.”
Cllr Connolly believed that the current “extortionate” market should see the taskforce once again examine previous suggestions (Kenny Report - 1973 Report of Committee on price of building land ) to control the price of land acquired for building purposes.
“The taskforce needs to assess the Ceannt Station (5.8ha site ) and also the Harbour lands for the provision of social and affordable housing. The taskforce will also need to work with UCHG/ NUIG and GMIT in relation to identifying lands suitable for the development of student accommodation, which would relieve some of the pressure on housing supply in the city”
Cllr Connolly concluded; “While the executive are represented along with a representative from the approved housing body, councillors have no representation, yet given their day to day experiences with clients with housing problems, could make a very positive contribution to the issue.”