Wednesday 20 September 2017

Environment Minister Kelly approves 200 housing staff

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly
John Downing

John Downing

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly has moved to approve hiring 200 senior local authority staff in efforts to speed up the delivery of social housing.

Under the move, councils across the country will be empowered to appoint architects, engineers, planners, surveyors, housing officers and some additional clerical staff. The appointments will be made at varying grades of seniority ranging from graduates to directors of services.

More than half the approved posts will be shared among the four Dublin local authorities. Dublin City Council will get 52 posts; Fingal will get 28; South Dublin will get 18; and Dun Laoghaire will get 16 posts.

The combined Limerick city and county will get 17 new approved appointments while Donegal will get 10 appointment approvals. A total of 30 posts will be spread between the following counties: Cavan eight; Clare two; Cork County one; Galway city one; Galway county two; Kerry one; Laois two; Leitrim two; Louth four; Tipperary one; Waterford two; Wexford two; and Wicklow two.

An Environment Department official said that Cork city and county may be in line for further appointments. A major effort will also be focused on big population areas where the need is most acute.

Last November, Mr Kelly pledged to move 90,000 people off the social housing list over the next five years.

Backlog

The Labour Party deputy leader unveiled a multi-billion euro social housing package aimed at clearing the huge backlog facing local authorities.

Addressing the current housing shortage is crucial to the Coalition, but particularly the Labour Party. Labour strategists believe that a major new tranche of properties for social housing tenants can boost the party's core support.

But progress on Mr Kelly's plans to reduce waiting lists are still rated as over-ambitious.

As an election looms into view by April 2016 at latest, the Opposition will be scrutinising delivery. The package of measures unveiled by Mr Kelly included the creation of 29,000 jobs to build 35,000 properties.

A further 75,000 homes are be provided in the private rented sector.

Irish Independent

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