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It will take 35 years to energy retro-fit all Wexford County Council houses at current rate of progress

The Government has approved  funding for 68 local authority houses in the county this year.

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Cllr Leonard Kelly.

Cllr Leonard Kelly.

Cllr Leonard Kelly.

wexfordpeople

It will take an estimated 35 years before all council houses in County Wexford are energy retro-fitted at the current rate of funding, it has been revealed.

Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan provided the figure during a discussion at a Borough District Council meeting after Cllr Leonard Kelly asked about the rate of progress in bringing local authority homes up to modern energy rating standards.

Housing officer Helen Meehan said the retro-fitting budget for 2022 will fund the retro-fitting of 68 properties in the county, including 17 in the Wexford District, at an approximate cost of €36,698 per house.

"That is a drop in the ocean. Do we even have an idea, based on that rate, how long it will take to bring all the stock up to the required level?” asked Cllr Kelly.

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"Do we have the resources in the council to achieve targets at a time of massively increasing fuel poverty? I think we should be as ambitious as we possibly can in relation to targets,” he said.

Ms Meehan said the money comes from a national budget and the council is allocated a certain amount each year. She didn’t know how long it would take at that rate.

Mayor Laffan said it was recently discussed at county council level when it was indicated that it would take 35 years before the full stock in Wexford was brought up to standard.

"Can we write to the Minister and say that is wholly unacceptable?” asked Cllr Kelly.

Mayor Laffan said he understood that there was plenty of funding available there but there was a lack of capability and contractors on the ground to carry out the work.

Ms Meehan said there was a finite budget with approval given for 68 properties this year and that was all that could be done, whether there were contractors available or not.

Acting Director of Services Brian Galvin said he understood that the houses with the worst energy rating would be tackled first.

New staff are currently being allocated to the housing department of the council, particularly the maintenance section and this will put the local authority in a position to look for additional funding.

"We are taking staff into the housing section and once we have additional staff our plan would be to seek additional funding for the retro-fit programme.”

Cllr George Lawlor said the key person over the retro-fit programme in Ireland is former Wexford Borough Engineer Eddie Taaffe and he proposed at the council invite him to offer some guidance and advice on how Wexford can achieve the best outcome in relation to retro-fit targets.

"He has vast knowledge in this area and was seconded to this position from the county council. We also have our Borough Engineer Sean Kavanagh moving to the housing department of the council and he will also be able to have an input”, he said.


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