The Minister for Environment and Local Government John Gormley has come in for sharp criticism from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny regarding payments to Mayo County Council for funding under the housing aid grants administered by local authorities. The situation is so dire at present that Mayo County Council does not have the financial resources to continue approving grants leaving many people without the necessary funding to carry out essential repairs to their homes.
A meeting of the Westport Electoral Area committee was told recently that no grants have been approved since August or September of last year and the council won’t be in a position to approve any more if additional income is not received. Director of services for that area Peter Hynes added that the mobile aid scheme needs to be reviewed with many, many changes necessary. “A considerable increase in resources to the grants scheme is needed if it is to function in a way originally envisaged,” the director added.
Only €480,363 has been paid to Mayo County Council out of a total allocation for 2009 of €2,775,834 or a mere 17 per cent despite being over half way through the year. The affected schemes are the scheme for housing aid for older people, the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability, and the mobility aids housing grant.
Deputy Kenny said: “This shortfall in paying out allocated funding is having a serious effect on the three schemes administered by Mayo County Council. I have highlighted this issue numerous times in the past and recently called for the Minister to rectify this problem before the summer recess of the Dáil.”
Dep Kenny has called on the Minister to ensure that the schemes are fully functioning and properly funded before the summer recess delays any improvements to the scheme.
Dep Kenny added: “Since this scheme was transferred from the HSE to local authorities, the minister has failed to realise the importance of these grants to the quality of life of people that need them. It is most unfortunate that people are being given false hope when they have their applications approved but are left waiting for funding that appears as if it will never come.”