€867,000 to build two homes for Travellers in Cork
A local authority has spent an estimated €867,000 building two homes for Traveller families.
The homes were built by Cork County Council at Rockfarm in Ringaskiddy with building costs coming in at €533,000 while the purchase of the site cost €334,000.
The projected spend has been highlighted in the 2014 Local Government Audit report for Cork County Council.
The report stated that the council commenced the construction of the two housing units following a long-standing application and threatened legal action by a family for specialist housing.
The auditor, James Moran, said that "at the date of audit, the construction of the two housing units was nearing completion at a project cost of €867,000, comprising construction costs of €533,000 and a site acquisition cost of €334,000".
The auditor stated that a deficit of €148,000 was recorded on the capital scheme which is fully funded by State grants.
In reply, the chief executive of Cork County Council said that "this matter relates to a housing unit let under the Traveller Accommodation Programme and originally acquired at a cost of €334,000 in 2003".
The report said: "The emerging particular and specialist requirements to be addressed necessitated a new build solution as opposed to refurbishment in order to adequately address family housing requirements."
Elsewhere, Local Government Auditor, Hugh Neville has stated that given the poor state of the finances of Mayo County Council, hospitality expenses incurred by the council should be capped.
He made his recommendation after examining a sample of credit card receipts for hospitality by senior management at the council. He said that "the information supplied in some cases was not detailed enough".
In reply, the council chief executive stated that "the council welcomes the Local Government Auditor's observations on the progress made on hospitality expenditure".
The CEO added: "It is necessary to provide a certain level of hospitality in seeking to promote the county in a very competitive environment.
"The council has been extremely successful in securing investment into the county in the last three to four years. The council will review the recommendations of the Local Government Auditor on future management of this expenditure."