Limerick councillors ‘kept out of the loop’ over social housing plans

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Annoyed residents from Drominbeag, Rhebogue at the site for the proposed building of a 21-unit social housing scheme   Picture by Dave Gaynor
COUNCILLORS have been left “out of the loop” concerning multi-million euro proposals to build 21 houses in Drominbeg, Rhebogue, it has been claimed.

COUNCILLORS have been left “out of the loop” concerning multi-million euro proposals to build 21 houses in Drominbeg, Rhebogue, it has been claimed.

Sinn Fein city north councillor Maurice Quinlivan, who sits on the housing committee, said the first he heard about the plans was when a resident telephoned him.

And he questioned why the houses – which will cost a total of €3.8m – cannot be built on council land, which could be acquired cheaper than buying land from a private developer which is what the National Association of Building Co-Operatives (Nabco) is doing.

He said he does not think it is fair to impose these social homes on residents. But his colleague on the housing committee Cllr John Gilligan said he is “disappointed” with the objections of residents in the estate.

Cllr Quinlivan said very little information on this project was forthcoming: “We have had no briefing on it, we won’t be making a decision on it. We need to build as many social houses as we can as fast as possible, but we must not make the mistakes of the past. I think we are making a mistake here,” he said.

At a recent housing committee meeting, Cllr Quinlivan asked why Nabco is purchasing the land from a private developer when the council has landbanks all over the city.He says he did not get an answer. The Limerick Leader put a similar question into the council, as part of an overall media query, but did not receive a response on that point.

Residents in Drominbeg – who will hold a meeting with public representatives in the next week – are largely opposed to the development, citing a potential increase in anti-social behaviour, the loss of a green space, and more value being wiped off their homes.

But Cllr Gilligan said: “I am disappointed people are objecting on the basis these are people on the housing waiting list, and have equated them directly to anti-social behaviour, and lowering the price of houses. To me, this kind of talk is absolutely and completely unacceptable.”

A council spokesperson rejected claims members were “kept out of the loop”, saying that in April last, it placed advertisements on its web site calling for submissions after the Department for the Environment issued a call for proposals on its annual Capital Assistance Scheme.