The elected members of the Claremorris-Swinford Municipal District have welcomed the news that a special workshop is to be scheduled with the housing officer of Mayo County Council to discuss housing plans in the area.
Independent Cllr Richard Finn raised the issue at their July meeting with a notice of motion which read: "Requesting that the Housing Officer and Housing Section of Mayo County Council to report on what efforts are being made by Mayo County Council to solve the social housing crisis in Claremorris Town where over 144 people are on the housing list."
Head of the district for Mayo County Council, Mr Padraig Flanagan, responded to Cllr Finn's motion saying that the housing officer, Simon Shevlin, would meet with the councillors to discuss the issue in the coming weeks. Cllr Finn welcomed the news, stating that there is a housing crisis in Claremorris.
Fine Gael Ballinrobe based councillor, Michael Burke, agreed with Cllr Finn and pointed out that in Ballinrobe there were 120 people on the list. He also added that there was a number of derelict or almost derelict buildings in the the town and said something should be done to encourage people to bring those back into use for people to live in. He suggested that a tax break for people who bring these types of property back into use be looked into.
Sinn Fein Cllr, Gerry Murray, agreeing with the idea of getting people back into houses in the middle of the town, said that it was very difficult for people to be able to afford to do so, adding that one person he knew was looking at trying do so with accommodation over a commercial building - however - complying with the fire regulations alone would have cost him €30,000.
Fianna Fáil Cllr, Michael Smyth, told the meeting that he grew up in a town house and would love to see this kind of living returning to towns, but the cost of bringing such houses back into use with commercial premises on them could be very costly for people and it would attract investors who would be looking for a return on their investment.