Limerick City and County Council has got approval to build 110 new social houses at a cost of almost €20m by 2017 in Adare, Patrickswell, Hospital and Limerick city.
The council got the go-ahead from the Department of the Environment under its Local Authority Housing Construction Programme to start the process of developing 20 new houses at Lisheen Park in Patrickswell, 20 in Glenview, Hospital, 30 in Deerpark, Adare and 40 in Clonmacken, Limerick city.
Details of the projects were given to local councillors by director of service Caroline Curley last week.
The four new projects are part of an overall €58m allocation aimed at delivering an additional 753 new housing units throughout the city and county by 2017.
In addition to this, it is planned that Regeneration will deliver a further 520 units in that time.
Approval is currently in place for 42 social housing units including 10 in Caherconlish, eight in Sycamore Avenue and Rathbane Road, and six in Kilmurry Court, Garryowen. Work is expected to get under way on these projects in the coming year and the majority are due to be complete by 2016.
Ms Curley told members of the council’s special committee for home and social development that there were currently 6,500 households receiving assistance under the council’s various housing schemes and 116 houses had been allocated so far this year to people on the council’s housing waiting list.
SPC member Cllr Liam Galvin pointed out that there was a difference in social housing need between the city and rural areas. “It is a firm belief of the people in Abbeyfeale that there is adequate social housing in these areas,” he said.
He also raised concerns about the amount of anti-social behaviour caused in rural towns and villages by council tenants who had been relocated from the city.
“People are coming out from Limerick city and they have caused mayhem in the town of Abbeyfeale,” he said.
And he called for garda vetting of all council tenants.
“The people inside the town are terrified. We are not going to put up with this kind of anti-social behaviour in Abbeyfeale,” he said.
His Fine Gael colleague Stephen Keary said that tenants should be given a house on a 12 month probationary period.
“If they are not behaving as they should, then they should be turfed out and told to get their own abode in the future,” he said.
Cllr John Gilligan pointed out that some people had been waiting “10 to 12 years on the social housing list”.
“It is disgraceful. That should never have been allowed to happen,” he said.
Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan said that the Orchard site at King’s Island should be prioritised for the development of social housing “as quickly as possible”.
Labour’s Joe Leddin welcomed the strategy but warned of an over-dependence on the private rental sector.
“It is becoming more difficult to get landlords to enter into arrangements because they can get more in the private rented market,” he said.