Standard of local authority housing called into question

The construction standard of local authority housing has come in for criticism from the Fine Gael spokesperson on community, rural, and Gaeltacht affairs, Deputy Michael Ring.

In recent days the Westport TD has been inundated with complaints countywide over the inferior building standards on both new and old council houses. “It is a disgrace that these houses have not been finished to proper and accepted standards,” he protested. “After all public monies are involved in these projects and it not acceptable that corners are being cut. There is an onus on local authorities that they get value for money and that shoddy work practices are not allowed in the construction of council housing schemes. The fact that there are so many problems impacts further on local authority finances as these faults have to be corrected.”

Dep Ring said it was the tenants who are the real losers as they have to endure “substandard” conditions and in many cases they are not getting satisfaction from the local authority when they highlight the building faults.

Dep Ring surmised: “I am aware of one rural house where the septic tank did not function properly for 30 years. We had a situation in Geesala where the houses had to be knocked and rebuilt. In Bangor Erris the chimneys in one of the council estates are giving major trouble and it has been alleged to me that they may in fact be a fire hazard. A few weeks ago, we heard on Midwest Radio the difficulties with the local authority houses in Ballina.

“I will be raising the matter in the Dáil with the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to ensure his Department insist that local authorities comply with the national building guidelines,” concluded Dep Ring.

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