Sunday 21 July 2019

Minister praises council on housing

Planning Director, Ann Marie Farrelly, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, and Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid at Ballymastone
Planning Director, Ann Marie Farrelly, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, and Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid at Ballymastone

Despite recent criticism from Government over local authority housing deliver, Fingal County Council has been singled out for praise by the Minister for Housing after he made a visit to several developments happening on the ground in Fingal.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has praised Fingal County Council for the progress it has made on the delivery of housing across the region, stating that the local authority is doing 'fantastic work'.

Speaking during a visit to Fingal, where he witnessed first-hand the activity taking place under various pillars of the Rebuilding Ireland programme, Minister Murphy praised Fingal County Council for its delivery of housing across the region.

Minister Murphy said: 'Fingal alone is going to deliver more than 640 new homes into social housing stock this year, in addition to all the other things they are going to do. And we as a Government are going to oversee delivery of 8,000 homes into the social housing stock this year which is incredibly significant.'

He paid tribute to Chief Executive Paul Reid and Director of Housing Margaret Geraghty and other council officials, who he said were doing 'fantastic work' to deliver more housing.

The Minister said: 'This doesn't happen if they aren't taking leadership in their own local authority, working with the councillors, working with Government and elected representatives.'

He added: 'When we are talking about building new homes, we have to ensure they are first class homes, no matter who we are building them for. A person's home is their castle and we have to take that approach when we are talking about building private homes, affordable homes and social homes and that is something we are committed to doing in Government.'

Minister Murphy visited Donabate where he saw major progress on the construction of €14.5m Distributor Road, which was the first project in the country backed by the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) to get underway.

The 4km road, which is due for completion in mid-2019, runs through the middle of the Ballymastone lands, which are expected to deliver between 1,000 and 1,200 residential units.

The site has an indicated tenure mix of 60% private, 20% private discounted or affordable homes and 20% social housing. Procurement for the site is underway.

The new road, which includes the construction of a new bridge over the Dublin-Belfast railway line, will provide alternative access to Donabate and Portrane and will alleviate traffic congestion in the area, according to the local authority.

The road will also provide improved access to the new National Forensic Mental Health Hospital, which is currently under constructioin in Portrane.

Completion of the first phase of the Donabate Road will result in the provision of a single carriageway road between Hearse Road and the Portrane Road, with the provision of a second carriageway to coincide with the completion of the proposed phases of development, the council explained.

During his visit, Minister Murphy first received a briefing at County Hall in Swords from Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid, Director of Planning and Strategic Infrastructure AnnMarie Farrelly, Director of Housing Margaret Geraghty, and County Architect Fionnuala May.

He then visited Seatown in Swords, where Fingal County Council recently purchased 18 houses which are currently undergoing extensive renovations before their allocation to people in need of social housing support.

Minister Murphy then travelled to the St Vincent de Paul-managed St Benedicts's Housing for the Elderly in Seabury, Malahide, where he officially opened a €1.45m eight-unit, single-storey sheltered housing extension. Managed by St Vincent de Paul, the award-winning complex now contains 45 units.

From there, Minister Murphy visited the LIHAF-funded Donabate Distributor Road, before heading to Balbriggan where he was given a tour of the council-built, rapid delivery scheme in Pinewood.

Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid said: 'We were delighted to welcome Minister Eoghan Murphy to Fingal today to outline the progress the local authority is making in terms of housing delivery across the various pillars of the Rebuilding Ireland programme.'

Fingal Independent