Hanley condemns unpaid dereliction fees 'a disgrace'

Soc Dem councillor says situation is 'enraging' when city is in 'the depths of a homelessness crisis'

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Muprhy TD and Cllr Owen Hanley.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Muprhy TD and Cllr Owen Hanley.

A total of €112,500 in unpaid dereliction site levies on the former Corrib Great Southern hotel remain unpaid from the last invoice issued in March for the site, a situation one city councillor called "a disgrace".

Galway City East Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley was commenting after the figures were released to his party. He said it was "enraging" to see the unpaid figures "while we are in the depths of a homelessness crisis".

Cllr Hanley said the two issues were not unrelated. "Dereliction is an aspect of the housing crisis that is too often ignored," he said. He pointed out that the site's continued existence, without renovation or demolition, prevents it from being converted into, or demolished to make way for, types of accommodation.

"It affects affordability of homes for families looking to purchase, and makes the development we need non-viable," he said. "The local community has for so long cried out for something to be done with this site in a way that supports the area's needs rather than takes away. This cannot be allowed to continue."

Cllr Hanley said the owners of the site have a legal and moral responsibility to pay the levy, which he said is otherwise "a tax for the burden on the city". He added that the figures show "just how much dereliction has gone out of control with no accountability". However it is understood that Galway City Council is actively following on getting the levies paid and Cllr Hanley expressed his full support to council staff in that task.

"In terms of the value of over €100,000 in context, we're talking about more than it costs to run the annual Christmas park and ride, and the equivalent to what is spent annually on local sports grants," he said. "My hope is that these levies are paid and returned to the surrounding area as investment in amenity and community supports that are so desperately needed."

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