Considerable frustration was expressed at a meeting in Laois County Council at the delay in making new social houses available.
The May meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District heard today that homes in Clonrooske Abbey and Goldencroft will not be ready mid-Quarter 3 of this year (July-September) despite the new homeowners being given notice as far back as the end of March.
A motion from Cllr Willie Aird had called for the council to indicate when the houses in the two estates will be occupied.
The Laois County Council response stated that the schemes, which are being operated by the Cluid housing body, have “experienced delays due to financing issues and utility connections”.
The meeting was also told that the new Capital Assistance Leasing Facility (CALF) will “now be used to house these schemes”.
The response added that 37 units in Goldencroft (beside the Portlaoise Train Station) and 18 houses in the final phase of Clonrooske will be occupied by mid-Quarter 3 of this year with the remaining 30 units in Goldencroft to be delivered by mid-Quarter 4.
“It’s great news for the people who got notification that they were getting these houses,” said Cllr Aird. “But it’s very disappointing that we have these delays.
“People who are getting houses in Clonrooske Abbey got letters on March 30 and it’s now nearly the end of May. We’re being told it’s held up because of a utility connection.
“My colleagues will agree with me that this is absolutely disgraceful. Irish Water is set up by the Government. Bang heads together and get it done.
“We as councillors have done our level best to get houses and here we have two projects and they are left idle. Is there anyone, anywhere, that could stand over it.”
“It’s very timely to remember that when people moved into Phase 1 in Clonrooske, it was 16 months late,” added Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley.
“There are tenants on borrowed time. They have given notice to their landlords that they are moving out – but now the new houses aren’t ready.
“Somebody needs to pull the finger out ASAP. It is a sad reflection of where we are going with houses. Where councils build their own houses and don’t rely on bodies like Cluid, there are no delays. We need to be building our own houses.
“With Cluid we always feel we are one step removed from it. We need specific dates.”
“It’s incredible the houses are sitting there waiting to be finished,” said Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
“It’s hard to believe that someone in the Department hasn’t set up a working group with the councils, the utilities and the housing bodies all coming together. They are all working on their own.
“To me there is no urgency there. I cannot understand why they are not all working together.
“There are houses there ready to go and we can’t get water into them. That’s a disgrace.”
Cllr Dwane-Stanley added that in some situations where there was a snag list, it meant a delay in moving to the next phase of the development.
Director of Services with Laois County Council Simon Walton said that he would be raising the issue with the Department of Housing in an effort to sort the delays in having the utilities installed – and to ask that where negotiations were taking place that it wouldn’t lead to further delays.