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28/10/2021

Offaly councillors request 'urgent' meeting with Housing Minister

Offaly councillors request 'urgent' meeting with Housing Minister

Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien

Offaly councillors have passed a motion requesting Offaly County Council seek a meeting with Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien.

The motion was passed on Monday after being put before the September meeting of the full council by Fianna Fail councillor Robert McDermott. Council management confirmed afterwards that they will be writing to the Minister's office to request a meeting.

Cllr McDermott lodged the motion on foot of the Housing For All plan launched by Minister O'Brien in recent weeks.

"I note that currently there are 532 applications on the housing waiting list, with another 816 cases being supported by HAP payments, as well as 22 families currently in emergency accommodation," Cllr McDermott said.

"This is a very difficult situation for the families throughout Offaly who find themselves in this position and we owe it to them to make every effort possible to try to improve their situation.

"It is, therefore, very welcome news that there is 100+ new builds coming on stream shortly, which is a positive and much-needed step in the right direction if we are to make an impact on the current housing crisis."

The “Housing for All” plan, which was presented by Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, was passed in the Dail recently with cross-party support. 

"Contained within this plan is the provision of an unprecedented €4 billion per annum until 2030 to deliver houses throughout the country," Cllr McDermott explained.

"There are also provisions in this progressive initiative for first-time buyers and low-income households. This plan presents us with a powerful opportunity to turn the tide on the housing crisis.

"This enormous housing budget brings with it a great responsibility for our local authorities, and I want to ensure that Offaly County Council and its residents are in the best position possible, to get the maximum benefit possible from this Housing Plan.

"It’s critical that the Council positions itself to ensure that the maximum available amount for housing in our area is drawn down."

In light of those comments, Cllr McDermott proposed the following motion which was then passed by his fellow councillors:

"Offaly County Council invite Minister O’Brien to meet with the Councillors urgently, so that the Minister can outline and explain the “Housing For All - A New Housing Plan for Ireland” policy."

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