'There isn't a hole in the ground in Tullamore' - Offaly County Council's housing record under fire
Offaly County Council's record on social housing came under fire at the July meeting of the local authority on Monday, July 16.
Fianna Fail councillor Declan Harvey and Fine Gael's Tommy McKeigue questioned the pace of social housing builds in the county after a number of land sales to housing agencies were approved at the meeting.
The sale of a number of parcels of council land was approved, including sites at Clonminch and Kearney's Field in Tullamore, and Killane Drive in Edenderry.
Cllr Harvey described the shortage of houses in Tullamore as "crazy" while Cllr McKeigue questioned the pace at which social housing was being constructed by these agencies. He said the protracted nature of delivery amounted to a "very bad performance" and called for a bi-monthly update from management on the housing situation in the county.
Cllr Harvey continued by suggesting, "there isn't a hole in the ground here in Tullamore" in terms of social housing developments being commenced on the ground. "There's no work taking place and Tullamore needs social houses," he claimed, going on to echo to criticise both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail for the lack of such developments.
In response to the comments, Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney, said, "the council is working with agencies to get the developments through the various stages." She went on to say, "it seems to be working in getting schemes up and running on the ground."
Delaney said she would request a housing report from the housing section to be presented to councillors at the September meeting. She agreed with the idea of a bi-monthly housing update at the regular council meetings.
Further to that, Director of Services, Tom Shanahan told the meeting that 60 social houses would be under construction in Offaly by the end of the year, most of which would be in Edenderry at a previously acquired site in Blundell Wood and the recently disposed site at Killane Drive.
He indicated that developments at various stages meant 150 social houses were in the pipeline for the county in the immediate future.
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