Only 54 houses were delivered by the Galway City Council and approved housing bodies (AHB ) under the Rebuilding Ireland scheme for 2018.
The scheme which sees the council and AHBs build, acquire, and lease houses had its worse performing year since it was introduced in 2016. To date a total of 306 housing units have been delivered under the scheme.
Director of services Dermot Mahon told the chamber at City Hall on Monday night that the 2018 total was “disappointing” but a target of 1,075 units to be delivered has been set for the end of the scheme in 2021. Councillors around the chamber voiced their disappointment at the number of housing units that had been provided to date.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ollie Crowe said the number of housing units delivered was “pathetic” and the number of homeless in Galway was a “damning indictment” of the Government’s efforts to deal with the crisis. Cllr Crowe said; [The number of] Homelessness of our city is ridiculous. Where are we going? I cannot understand why we cannot build houses? We are going back to the sixties and seventies, of public ghettos.”
Labour councillor Billy Cameron said the crisis had been exacerbated because the Government had “pandered to the landlord class for the last 15 years” and that the crisis would continue “as long as we continue to not tax land”.
Sinn Féin councillor Mairéad Farrell responded to the report by asking if the council had an affordable housing scheme. Cllr Farrell said; “One of the most frustrating and devastating [in Ireland at present] is the impossible to deal with housing crisis. Clearly there is a need for an affordable housing scheme. Is there one? [The Rebuilding Ireland Scheme] is an ambitious plan and I hope it works. [But] 40 per cent of city shows overreliance on rental market, which is ludicrous.”
Mr Mahon responded by telling the chamber, the council was only being honest in what it could deliver in terms of housing units. “We do not have a significant landbank. We are only going to bring to you what is deliverable. We do not want to set out a target that is pie in the sky. We are subject to delays - construction delays and delays that are unforeseen.”