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‘It’s a vicious circle’ – Families left without homes as Laois housing development hit by delays

Laois County Council Housing

The ongoing delays surrounding the delivery of 32 new houses in Clonrooske Abbey in Portlaoise has been described as a ‘vicious circle’.

Fianna Fail Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald made the comments at a recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District where she sought on update on the delivery of these homes.

These are being delivered by Cluid housing body and are to accommodate Laois County Council housing tenants.

The project was initially due to be delivered in March 2021 but in a reply to Cllr Fitzgerald’s motion on when they would be delivered, she was told it would be in three phases this year – March, May and June.

Cllr Fitzgerald said: “If we can’t get these 32 houses, it holds up another 32 households.

“If this happens in other developments we are in serious trouble. We are really depending on the developer’s good will as the contract is well and truly over.

“This delay is so disappointing for the people told they were getting a house. We have a serious housing problem like every other county.

“We can ill afford to be without 32 houses. This is going on and on and we are still at the mercy of the developer.

“It’s a sad situation for people to be told they are getting a home. These houses are ready in my opinion.

“Housing bodies seem to be providing all our housing yet we have no say. It is a dangerous road we are heading down.”

Cllr Fitzgerald received support from Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley on the matter who said that 16 Laois people, including families with children, now in emergency accommodation.

She said: “That is eight single people, one couple and the rest are families. On a daily basis we have people constantly getting notices to quit.

“One day last week we had nine people contacting us with notices, there is no hope for them. We have families going to Carlow and Roscrea to stay in emergency accommodation.

“I feel sorry for the housing section. They are inundated, with queues outside their office.

“There has been a 10% increase in rents but HAP payments have not increased and people are ending up homeless.

“You have 40 houses waiting to be re-let but the same crew is doing maintenance jobs.

“I ask that you look at having separate crews. 40 houses would make a nice difference. It’s like the loaves and fishes.

“We are depending on the private sector to come up with houses but Laois County Council should provide all social housing.”

Director of Services Simon Walton explained that housing was one of the most important issues for the Council.

He said: “There are multiple ways in which social housing is being delivered, directly by the council, by housing bodies, by turnkey as appears in this case.

“Compared to any other local authority, it will stand to fair comparison. That’s not to say that people aren’t frustrated and people are in desperate need. It is a number one priority for the council.

“You sought an update to this development and three dates were given. On the plus side, there appears to be no change to the dates at this time.”

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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.