Minister Damien English cuts ribbon on €1.6million social housing development
While all over the country, local authorities are struggling to deal with a very real housing crisis, there was some cause for optimism in Enniscorthy this week as Minister of State with responsibility for Housing, Damien English TD arrived in town to officially cut the ribbon on a brand new €1.6million social housing development.
Ard na hUrrainne is a new eight hours development of two bed and three bed houses just off the Ross Road roundabout. The development includes four specially adapted houses which have been designed and constructed to meet the specific needs of the new tenants, who were present for Minister English's visit and were excited to take possession of their new homes.
The Minister got the chance to meet with some of the tenants and their families, as well as take a tour of the state of the art, super energy efficient homes.
'They are fine houses and I believe this site was in need of a clean-up beforehand as well,' Minister English said. 'I want to congratulate the new tenants and to wish them every happiness in their new homes. It is the real pleasure of this job that I get to come to an event like this one and meet on a face-to-face basis the people whose lives will be transformed for the better. Some of these people have been waiting three, four or five years for a house and we're focused on responding to these needs as quickly as possible.'
While, rightly, the housing crisis is taking centre stage on the national agenda, Minister English said that very real progress is being made in Co Wexford.
'We accept that homeless figures are higher than we want and nobody wants to see families in hotel rooms and emergency accommodation,' he said. 'It's abundantly clear that houses are needed. Wexford is 50% ahead of its own target when it comes to social housing and is well ahead in terms of taking advantage of all the available schemes. We are all committed to an increase in the housing stock and in Wexford there are plans to increase this by 1,200 in the next three years.'
As well as meeting with the families, Minister English also got the chance to meet with Chief Executive of Wexford County Council Tom Enright, council officials, elected representatives and oireachtas colleagues Minister Paul Kehoe and Deputy James Browne.
The new homes were designed in-house by Wexford County Council Housing Department and built by local contractor Kilcavan Property Developments Ltd. on behalf of the Council and funding of just over €1.6 million was provided by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.