Who can point out the centre of Mountcollins, asks Cllr Liam Glavin
A YEAR on after a scheme of ten social and affordable houses for Mountcollins was turned down, it has emerged that 13 people on the housing waiting list have given Mountcollins as one of their choices.
“There are 13 people looking for housing in Mountcollins yet I am told there is no need for housing in Mountcollins,” Cllr Liam Galvin declared angrily at this month’s meeting of Newcastle West Municipal District.
The proposed scheme was turned down last year by the Department of Planning, Housing and Local Government “due to concerns related to the limited access to shops, services or public transport and the relatively low demand in the area.”
Speaking on the issue in the Dáil, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said “the project was not advanced as the scale of housing proposed was greater than the numbers on the waiting list for social housing in the locality.
It was now a matter for Limerick City and County Council to consider how best to meet those social housing needs.
“I understand that the council is considering the utilisation of existing properties, including vacant properties, in the area,” he said.
But, Larry Begley, secretary of Mountcolllins Development Association pointed out at the time, because there has been a lack of new housing in Mountcollins up to now, people have had no option but to put down their preference as Abbeyfeale or Newcastle West.
Now, Cllr Galvin has revealed, in answer to detailed questions, that 13 people had put Mountcollins as an option. Our housing lists are getting bigger and bigger, he said, and the lists for Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale were huge.
But, he argued, if houses were provided in villages such as Mountcollins, Athea and Tournafulla, those lists would shrink.
He also asked for a review of the council’s settlement policy which, he said, prohibited any development more than 500 metres from the centre of Mountcollins. “If anybody could tell me where the centre of Mountcollins is, he will be a smart man,” he said.
Cllr Galvin pointed out that a developer was prepared to come in and invest in a particular site in Mountcollins but was refused planning.
“You are not going to have a shop or post office unless you put people in first,” he declared.
The solution, he argued, was “in our own hands”.
“It will solve the decimation of groups like the GAA, soccer and rugby. It will solve the decimation of rural schools,” he said. “This is a win/win situation. We need joined-up thinking to get this over the line.”
Cllr John Sheahan requested that the Mountcollins application be re-submitted. Project 2040, he said, was anti-rural and against one-off housing.