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Laois County Council to hire six new staff in housing section to help meet housing targets

Laois County Council General

Laois County Council has been given the go ahead to recruit six new staff into the housing section of the Council to assist them in delivering on their social housing targets.

Six new staff have been approved by the Minister Darragh O’Brien for Laois County Council, Minister for State Sean Fleming has confirmed.

Four of which will be technical staff such as engineers, quantity surveyors and architects.

In addition to this there will be two administrative staff to also assist in progressing the Laois housing targets.

Minister Fleming said: “It has been clear to myself and the Minister that Councils need more staff to ensure delivery of the largest ever social housing programme in the history of the State.

“Laois County Council has a massive ambitious target in this area and I encourage them to do everything in their power to ensure targets are met in providing new homes in the immediate years ahead.

“In fact I would hope that Laois County Council will exceed their targets and I will fight for additional resources to help them provide the maximum amount of housing in the county.

“I want Laois County Council to proceed urgently with the recruitment process for these new staff to ensure they are in place and working as soon as possible.

“I agree that the targets recently announced by the Chief Executive of Laois County Council are ambitious but what matters now is delivery and achieving these targets.

“I look forward to the County Council giving regular updates on their delivery targets and where any additional assistance/resources are required from Government I will do all in my power to deliver on any such requests.”

The news of the extra recruitments comes just days after it was revealed that Laois County Council has handed back €600,000 in unspent housing improvement grants to the government.

Council officials confirmed that they received an allocation of €1 million from the government to be spent improving council houses in Laois.

This money was to be spent on things like housing adaptations where people with disabilities or the elderly who are living in Council accommodation can have work carried out to improve their living conditions.

But from this grant, which was the highest amount of money that Laois had ever received, Cllr Dwane-Stanley says that Council officials confirmed to her that just €400,000 had been spent and the rest would be sent back.

Cllr Dwane Stanley said: “When I questioned why the money had not been spent, I was told that they could not find contractors to carry out work.

“Now I know there are difficulties with sourcing contractors, but I do not accept that this is a sufficient reason.

“There was €1.2 million granted for the same type of work for private houses and €900,000 of that has been spent.

“So how come 75% of the budget can be spent following applications from private but yet only 40% of the available funding is spent on the council houses? It just doesn’t add up.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.