Seventy-eight houses lying vacant in Galway city is an “unacceptably high figure” when some families have been waiting 11 on the housing waiting list.
This is the view of Independent Galway City West councillor Catherine Connolly, who added that the situation was “nothing short of scandalous”, considering that 3,610 households remain waiting for local authority accommodation.
According to Cllr Connolly, the 78 Galway City Council dwellings - including one, two, three and four bed-roomed apartments and houses - have been vacant for periods between three to five years. She added that “no adequate explanation has ever been given” for why other empty houses “cannot be turned over and re-let” or why money “has not been made available for the major refurbishment required”.
Cllr Connolly also drew attention to two houses in The Claddagh which have been empty since 2007 and 2008, and are still awaiting major refurbishment works.
More than two years ago, refurbishment plans for these properties were drawn up by a City Hall architect. The plans went on display and there were no objections. It was confirmed the works were to go ahead, but since then nothing has happened.
Cllr Connolly has repeatedly raised this issue with the council’s housing department, while at a recent city council meeting she was informed funding should be available for the works “this year”.
The councillor is calling on the city manager Brendan McGrath to “take a hands-on approach” to the issue by assigning a specific housing maintenance crew to deal with vacant houses.