520 social houses to be built in Offaly by 2021

Thursday, 4 October 2018

520 social houses will be built in Offaly by 2021, according to the local Council.
Cllr John Leahy told the Tribune that most of the paperwork has been done and the building stage of the programme is nearly here. He believes we will see the construction of many of these houses around the county during the coming months.
People don't realise how long it takes to build just one house, under the current state of affairs, he said. There is a lot of paperwork and many hurdles to overcome.
Cllr Leahy is Chairman of the Mid Offaly Housing Association, a role he has been in for the last eight years, and he knows very well all the difficulties with building new houses. The Association oversees 23 houses and has just started building four new houses in Mountbolus. The digger started working there just yesterday.
The councillor said the Housing and Homelessness Crisis has been exacerbated by the lengthy period it takes to build houses. It's also been exacerbated, he says, by the lack of skilled practitioners in the building industry. During the Recession, of course, the industry went into freefall and many practitioners left the country. Recovering from that, the Councillor says, will take time.
A number of councillors strongly criticised the Take Back the City movement during Monday evening's Annual Public Meeting of the Offaly Joint Policing Committee. Cllr Leahy said he has no problem with peaceful protests but he feels the Take Back the City has stepped over a line and has also been hijacked by left-wing politicians.
Some of these politicians have said it's ok to break the law in this instance, he remarked. I don't think it is. There is nothing peaceful about the way these protesters have gone about this. On a number of occasions the Garda didn't meet a peaceful protest but were met by vitriol and abuse. Some Garda have also been targeted and threatened on Facebook. I think in those circumstances it is not surprising that the Garda should feel fearful and should want to conceal their identity by wearing balaclavas.
The councillor said the Take Back the City movement contains a number of professional protesters, people who piggyback whatever the latest protest is, who want to sow the seeds of dissent and are willing to turn to violence. He also criticised members of the Take Back the City movement for trying to conceal their identities by wearing hoodies. Asked what is the solution to the Housing and Homeless Crisis he said, Time and money.
Cllr John Carroll said he had sympathy for the Take Back the City movement. I don't condone breaches of the law, he pointed out, but people are entitled to march and engage in peaceful protests. I think it is the roots, the causes, of the Housing Crisis which need to be tackled and not the people on the streets.
Cllr Noel Cribbin said he disagreed with Cllr Carroll. I think it was an outrageous act by these people to block the streets of Dublin. There was one Guard who, simply because she was doing her job, was targeted and her car was burned out. Some of these protestors are in fact criminals and I am therefore not surprised that some of the Guards felt they had to wear balaclavas.
People are entitled to protest, commented Cllr Clendennen, but blockading off parts of the capital city is just not acceptable. Taking over empty buildings is not putting one family back into those houses. It is not solving the problem. It might be better for the protestors if they had a more constructive plan to tackle the Crisis. Until we see a constructive plan from them then we can't take them seriously.
Cllr Leahy told the Tribune that the 520 social houses built over the next few years will be constructed to a high standard.


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