Vacant and boarded up houses can be made fit for occupation again - thereby making some properties available for social housing - but only if the Galway City Council starts hiring additional maintenance staff.
This is the view of Labour Galway City Central candidate, John McDonagh, who is calling for increased funding to be set aside in the next council budget for hiring maintenance staff.
According to Mr McDonagh, council maintenance staff who retire are not being replaced, and this has the effect of "causing excessive delays" in both the maintenance and reallocation of social housing. The council housing waiting list currently stands at 2,000 with some waiting for more than 14 years to be allocated a home. There are also a number of vacant houses in the city which "have been left boarded-up for more than two years and this leads to anti-social behaviour".
Mr McDonagh said that if such houses are repaired, then at least some families can be allocated homes. As a result he is calling on City Hall to set aside funds in the next council budget for new maintenance staff. "With so many people homeless and families living in emergency accommodation," he said, "these houses should be ready for occupation within three months after they become vacant and there can be no excuse from City Hall for this continuing delay."