'Shambles' as record on housing laid bare

Published 10/09/2013 | 05:40

Sean MacManus
Sean MacManus

Sligo has the worst record in re-letting vacant council houses in the country.

Here, there is a delay of more than 16 months in re-leasing vacant properties.

In Sligo, there is a delay of 65.1 weeks, compared to the national average of 21 weeks.

Clr Sean MacManus, who raised a motion, wanted to know why 'this disgraceful situation arose'.

He said that he blame 'must lie further up'.

He said: "I'm not blaming those council workers involved in house repairs for this debacle, the blame must lie much further up and as County Manager with responsibility for oversight and co-ordination of this Council, that blame must lie with you."

Clr MacManus stressed that it was not as though a high demand for Council housing did not exist.

He added: "There are up to 1500 housing applicants across county Sligo when the Borough is included."

He called the situation a 'shambles' and 'a league of shame on which we are top'.

A report from the Council said that a number of criteria were taken into account for the programme of works being carried out, including available budgets and the demand for social housing.

Reduced budgets were also cited as a factor and where the demand for housing was high, these areas were prioritised.

Clr MacManus retorted: "This is the most ridiculous answer that I have heard in all my life.

"The facts speak for themselves there is an average of 65 weeks.

"There must be houses lying there for 2-3 years without work being done."

He added that there was a lack of accountability here and that the numbers on the housing lists were there because of government failures.

Clr MacManus then said: "What sort of a message is it sending to people on the housing list?

"There are people in clinics crying because of the fact that they cannot get council houses."

He said that Offaly's record was 8.5 weeks in comparison.

He added that those responsible 'should be ashamed and held accountable'.

Clr MacManus requested a report with steps to address the issue available at the October meeting.

Clr Declan Bree addded: "This Council has become a record breaker in many areas.

"Given the litany of bad records this Council has, I am convinced that if there was a category for mismanagement in the Guinness Book of Records, Sligo County Council could claim that record without challenge."

Clr Joe Queenan and Michael Clarke also voiced their support for Clr MacManus's motion.

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