FAMILIES on the housing waiting list in West Limerick have been turning down houses in Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale, local councillors were told at a meeting in Newcastle West this Wednesday.
And in some instances, the director of services with Limerick City and County Council, Caroline Curley said, there have been mulitple refusals on the same property.
Meanwhile, in the Newcastle West municipal district alone where there are 314 on the housing waitiing list, the figures show that 36 council houses are currently unoccupied. Of these, 15 houses have been allocated to families but have yet to be occupied; a further eight houses are ready for allocation while 13 other houses remain vacant.
But councillors at this Wednesday’s meeting expressed greatest concern that potential tenants were turning down houses in Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale.
“There has been a high level of refusals in both Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale,” Ms Curley said in a written reply to Cllr Liam Galvin (FG).
There were 20 recorded refusals in Newcastle West alone, she said and five in Abbeyfeale. And in both cases, there had been multiple refusals for some properties.
Ms Curley, however, did not mention any particular housing estates but Cllr Liam Galvin argued the council needed an answer to the question of why there was such a high level of refusal.
Otherwise, he said: “I guarantee the same housing estates will come up again for refusals.”
There had been a lot of coverage of homelessness in Dublin and the other cities, the Abbeyfeale councillor continued, and yet people were refusing houses in the county town and Abbeyfeale.
“There is something wrong. This is going to continue to be an issue. Do we need to take further action or do we continue kicking the can down the road?”, Cllr Galvin said.
Another Abbeyfeale-based councillor, Seamus Browne (SF), acknowledged there were issues in some estates but he praised the work done by the council’s housing officials to improve estates. He argued more resources needed to be put behind this work.
In Limerick city and county as a whole, there were 4,315 on the housing waiting list in October, with almost three-quarters of these in the city alone. The figure for county is 905: 314 in the Newcastle West municipal districtl 283 In the Adare/Rathkeale district and 308 in the Kilmallock district. The figure for Limerick is 3,410.
However, just 70 out of a target of 96 new houses have been completed so far this year.
At Wednesday’s meeting, councillors were told that the Clúid Housing Association hopes to have 12 houses on an unfinished estate in Abbeyfeale ready for occupation by July/August next year.